Tradition.

What happens when a girl is recounting the tale of her first Rememberance Day ceremony in Canada?

For one thing, her tutor collapses in hysterical laughter at said girl’s insights and observations. Political Correctness was not in my pocket for this little foray into cross-cultural (mis)understanding.

J: You know this thing? (Holds up plastic poppy on a pin)
Me: Yeah. The poppy. It’s tradition.
J: I thought they were saying puppy. How do people wear puppies for Rememberance Day?
Me: (giggling) Um, They don’t. It’s these flowers. They’re because of a special poem, written by a Canadian.
J: Um. I thought they were asking for donations for our new playground, because we have a new playground, right? So I, like, didn’t pay very good attention. And then one boy and one girl came around and they had this envelope. But I didn’t know anything. And they said there was going to be puppies. But then they gave me a flower.
Me: (progessive hysterics) Didn’t you wonder about the sense of celebrating with puppies?
J: Yeah, I kinda did, bt there’s lots of things different here, so I never really thought about it You know, Canada.
Me: Yes, Canada. It’s traditional for us to wear those poppies because of a famous poem: In Flanders Fields, the poppies grow, between the crosses, row on row.. Um, I forget the rest.
J: (brightens) I think I heard that today. Something about poppies.
Me: That’ll be it. It’s traditional.
J: Oh, and we sang, too.
Me: Oh Canada?
J: Jeah, but I haven’t learned any of it but Oh Canada, so I just kind of lip-synched it.
Me: That’s okay. (trying to be supportive, aware that I may laugh at the wrong time)
J: Then there was another poem. It was about teaching the world or something. I didn’t really understand it. (shrugs) Whatever.
Me: (losing it again) Probably there was something about teaching the world not to kill each other?
J: Yeah, probably. It was boring. Hey! Look what I can do! (makes fake lips from plastic poppy)
Me: (crying with laughter) That’s traditional too!

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