Life is strange at the best of times, but sometimes there’s a confluence of forces that underscores to an absurd degree just how much of a funny old world this mortal coil really is. So it was Sunday morning coming down one of my favourite walks in this good old city, the well-travelled pathway along Spanish Banks, with its all-everything views — sea, sky, sand, mountains, tankers, and the distant, glistening cityscape.
And what should be come together at the end of this lovely trail? Why, what else but a country singer with a flower in her hair, a promotion for Canadian dolls, and, of course, Stompin’ Tom Connors.
The country singer was the genial Jesse Farrel (http://www.jessiefarrell.com), sitting on a log, strumming her guitar, learning the words to a new song. Her voice cut sweetly through the soft, maritime morning breeze. During a break, I asked her what song she was learning. “It’s by Stompin’ Tom Connors,” Jesse said, giving an answer I would never have predicted in a zillion years of hoping for a peaceful round of teacher bargaining. “A Real Canadian Girl. But I do it a little differently than he does,” she added, unnecessarily.
And why? Well, it turns out the song will be part of a video that was being shot on a nearby beach with a bunch of kids. The video will espouse the merits of a pro-Canada alternative to the all-embracing, ubiquitous American Girl line of hugely expensive dolls that Indigo, our “national” book store chain, is promoting at its downtown Vancouver store. Really, Indigo. Is this the best you can do?
Why we should be encouraging our young, impressionable girls to buy American-themed dolls is beyond me. So, all hail Maplelea (http://www.maplelea.com/en) for its line of “Canadian Girl Dolls for Canadian Girls.” Who knew? (Yet another aspect of this unexpected, oddball encounter: the headquarters of Maplelea is in my beautiful hometown of Newmarket, also claimed by Hannah Georgas, Glass Tiger and Mike “Shaky” Walton.)
Jesse told me that the video is scheduled to be released on Canada Day. I, for one, will be looking for it. Because, as we should be telling our young girls: Yes, doll-buying Virginia, there is a Canada. Maplelea’s special line of Canada Day apparel is available here.
And, if you’ve read this far, here’s your Stompin’ Tom reward: