Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Canadians are Coming

I missed the Bruins’ debacle on Long Island last Saturday night because I was in Portland, Maine for a concert: Great Big Sea, perhaps Canada’s finest band—comprised of three lads from Newfoundland, one from Nova Scotia, and another from Ontario—was in town to perform its unique mishmash of folk, Celtic, pop and rock. The five comprised but a small part of the Canadian contingent in Portland. Scanning the crowd, the band members saw an ocean of people, many sporting the Maple Leaf Olympic hockey sweaters (that’s what they call a jersey in Canada), Newfoundland flags, and Roots clothing.

Sometime during the band’s second set, somewhere between “Helmethead” (a frolicking hockey song) and “Old Brown’s Daughter” (sung a cappella ), my wife leaned to her right to whisper the sweetest thing a woman can say to her husband, “You’re going to buy me a donut, aren’t you?”

I assumed she meant a Dunkin’ Donut because the last time I had checked—and despite the decidedly Canadian accent in the crowd—we were still in the States. In the parking lot after Great Big Sea’s gig, my wife spread out Greater Portland’s Best of map and then surveyed the distance between where we sat and the five convenient Tim Hortons stores advertised on the map.

“I can’t condone that,” I said, not wanting to commit the same sin I had committed in Connecticut last month.

Fifteen minutes later in South Portland, the options presented themselves: On our right beckoned Dunkin’ Donuts, the orange and fuchsia logo tugging at my heartstrings. To my left, Timmy’s, the bold red sign with the “Always Fresh” slogan seemingly serenading…my wife.

I offered restrained resistance—much like Portland’s population, which must now be infiltrated with Canadians because the city features five Tim Hortons and five Dunkin’ Donuts locations. Supply and demand, right? If five Tim Hortons can flourish here, there must be a significant Canadian surge into the city.

Inside Timmy’s, we met other concert-goers. One, a woman whose brother played with Don Sweeney in Midgets was—sure as Sher-Wood—Canadian. She and her male companion of unknown nationality live in Augusta, which does not have a Tim Hortons. Yet.

If it sounds like I’m complaining, well, we took our Timbits to go. I ate about four of the donut holes without much remorse before I drifted off into a happy slumber.

The remaining round treats were still fresh the next morning—when I had one or two.

I brought the rest to work on Monday morning. When I returned to the kitchen at the end of the work day to snag a leftover, not a one remained…sort of like the dwindling American population in Maine. Mark my words: in the year 2020, Canada will have annexed Maine without having had to raise a rifle.
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