The Kindergarteners at the Gort’s school go to music class a couple of times a week. Apparently their latest musical acquisition is ‘Oh, Canada,’ judging from the number of times we’ve heard it hummed from the backseat of the car-van in the last week.
Sometimes he sings it, too. Though he doesn’t know all of the words. He begins very emphatically, with a sharpness I haven’t heard in other versions: ‘OH CAN-uh-dah!’ The ‘dah’ is very short when he sings it, hence the exclamation point. The only other words I’ve heard are: ‘we stand on guard/God (?) for thee.’ He pronounces it ‘gahd’. Whatever ‘it’ is.
‘Well, can you sing the American song,’ the professor wanted to know somewhat defensively. ‘He’s never been taught [it]’ I warned, lest he expected the poor kid to conjure ‘Oh, say can you see’ out of thin air.
Nevertheless the professor started singing ‘Oh, say can you see’ so low that I don’t think Bryn Terfel could have imitated him without croaking. ‘Yeah, it’s pretty hard to sing,’ he conceded.
I decided to change the subject, sort of. ‘Who do you think will win the hockey game tonight’ I asked the Gort, ‘Canada or America?’
‘Canada,’ the boy replied. And I was inclined to believe him. After all, he’d correctly predicted the Saints would beat the Colts in the Super Bowl.
Later that evening he decided to set out his school clothes for the following day. He does this sometimes – completely of his own volition – and it cracks me up, the care that goes into placing his clothes on the floor for the next morning. He’d set out a striped polo t-shirt and a long-sleeved shirt to go under it. As well as some blue cargo pants. And he’d made himself a nametag with a tiny piece of paper and an enormous safety pin.
I didn’t ask why he needed the nametag.
He was digging through his closet to find some pajamas or who knows what when he came across his hockey jersey. His Canadian hockey jersey that he hasn’t worn in quite some time.
‘Maybe I’ll wear this tomorrow,’ he changed his mind. And, since I figured he was going to be right about the outcome of the Canada-USA game, I lent him my enthusiastic support. ‘Great idea!’
The next morning the Gort ran into my room to ask for some assistance with getting the (slightly too small) jersey over his head. ‘Um, why don’t you talk to daddy about it,’ I tried to stall. On account of the, um, loss the Canadians had sustained the night before. In my mind, it seemed plain odd that an American would wear a Canadian hockey jersey to school…….when the Americans had beaten the Canadians.
But what do I know? ‘It’s fine,’ the professor interrupted my thoughts.
And off to school he went.