I went to the celebration of Canada’s birthday yesterday, in a leafy and meadowy riverside park in London. Here were my highlights:
1. As I sat in front of the stage grooving to a 13-year-old girl belting out the tunes of Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra, along came a white version of Star Wars’ Darth Vader. He was on a unicycle, pushing his young son in a stroller. A tall post came up from the vehicle, with our Canadian flag flapping madly as the pair of them zoomed by. Then they returned to listen to the young diva. I was awestruck. He had such presence, such a shining light among thousands of spectators in their lawn chairs. The gentleman was creating vivid memories for the boy. Well done.
2. As the next act came onstage, with their high-energy beat, up walked a skinny guy wearing baggy bluejeans, T-shirt and a glittery green hat, complete with flashing lights. He wasn’t a handsome man. But oh, could he dance! Didn’t give a hoot about being the only dancer or about the huge glom of onlookers. The big smile on his face said it all. And that’s what makes people beautiful, I’d say. Well done.
3. A muscular man in a white T-shirt rushed towards Cheryl Lescom, the last act of the night. They talked briefly. His little boy was lost. And the pain was everywhere on his face. Red-shirted volunteers sprang into action as Cheryl announced the disappearance. Five minutes later, a young woman in red appeared near the stage, holding Dalton on her hip. She bounced him gently and talked to the young missing one. Soon dad was sprinting to the front for a reunion. Tears hung nearby. Well done, everyone.
4. Cheryl Lescom, a blues and rock singer, blasted out her songs for a good hour. It was great to see someone move her body all around as she sang – a woman probably in her 50s with some meat on her bones and a passion for great lyrics and the power of the voice. “Proud Mary”, “Me and Bobby McGee” and “The Hippy, Hippy Shake” rocked the park indeed. Well done.
5. 10:00 pm. Fireworks that took my breath away. Huge circular explosions of colour, twisty ones heading diagonally into the heavens, and an rip-roaring finale created thousands of clapping hands. Jody was beside me, oohing and ahhing with her husband. “Oh Bruce, they’re so beautiful. Thank you for bringing me.” “You’re most welcome, Jodiette.” I cried.
Five to remember