Sunday, September 17, 2006

Sunday Morning Patriotism, Part Deux

If Canada had a soul (a dubious proposition, Moses thought) then it wasn't to be found in Batoche or the Plains of Abraham or Fort Walsh or Charlottetown or Parliament Hill, but in The Caboose and thousands of bars like it that knit the country together from Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia to the far side of Vancouver Island. Signs over the ancient cash register reading NO CREDIT or TIP-PING ISN'T A CITY IN CHINA. A jar of rubbery pickled eggs floating in a murky brine, bags of Humpty Dumpty potato chips hanging on a spike. A moose head or buck's antlers mounted on the wall, the tractor caps hanging from it advertising GULF or JOHN DEERE or O'KEEFE ALE. The rip in the felt of the pool table mended with black tape. Toilet doors labelled BRAVES and SQUAWS or POINTERS and SETTERS. A Hi-Lo Double-Up JOKER POKER machine in one corner, a juke box in another, and the greasy sign over the kitchen door behind the bar reading EMPLOYEES ONLY BEYOND THIS POINT.

--Mordecai Richler, Solomon Gursky Was Here

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