“Momma, Momma!” Patrick ran into the kitchen and waved a piece of paper in his mother’s face.
“What is it, Peanut?” She put the dishtowel in her hands on the counter. “Why aren’t you ready for school?”
She tugged the hockey jersey off Patrick and pushed him toward his room.
“But, Momma!” Patrick protested as he tripped over his hockey stick that lay in the doorway. “You’ve got to see this!”
Momma took the paper and looked at it. “What is this? Have you been on the computer this morning?”
“No, Momma,” Patrick pulled on his school sweater. “I printed it off last night.”
Too late, he remembered he was not supposed to be on the computer after bedtime.
Momma looked it over. She was curious to know what her eight years old son was up to.
It was an advertisement for a poster contest.
“See, Momma?” Patrick danced around her. “The winner gets free tickets to the Winter Olympics in Vancouver! I’ll get to see the hockey games in person!”
“Now, wait a minute, Peanut.” Momma looked closer. “This is a “Why I love Canada” theme.”
“I love Canada!” Patrick crowed.
“Well,” Patrick’s grey eyes clouded over as he thought about it. “I was born here.”
“I’ve lived here all my life.”
“And?” Momma was not going to let him get by with just that. “Think about it while you are in school today. If you can come up with something good, then you can do it.”
“Thanks, Momma!” Patrick hugged his mother and then pulled on a heavy jacket.
“And after school, you will have a talk with father and me about breaking rules, too.”
“Yes, Momma.” He dashed out the door just in time to meet the bus for school.
All morning he thought about it.
Why did he love Canada?
He loved winter and the snow. He especially liked hockey. He wanted to be just like Orr, one day. The First Nation People fascinated him. He wished he had been born an Inuit and lived in ice houses, too.
Mr. Pinkle, the Social Studies teacher, was Patrick’s favorite. He often dressed up in costumes or brought in strange objects. Today was no different. This morning, Mr. Pinkle walked in wearing an Inuit costume. Complete with skins, shells and everything. It looked funny with his bright red hair and freckled skin. His glasses slipped down on his nose and reflected the sunlight from the windows.
Patrick learned a lot about the First Nation Peoples that day. Shame filled his heart as he learned how the government abused them and he thought about his poster. Maybe he had better give up that idea. How could he say he loved Canada when they treated the First Nation that way?
Just when he had given up all hope of winning a chance to go to the Olympics, Mr. Pinkle pulled out a newspaper. It had an article on the front page. “Prime Minister Delivers Apology to First Nation” it read. Mr. Pinkle taught the class how the government apologized to the Indian people of Canada and worked to make things better for them.
A light dawned in Patrick. That was it!
Excitement filled him again as he waited for the final bell of school. He thought the day would last forever! Classes dragged and lunch seemed like an eternity.
At long last, the bell rang and children poured out of the building and onto the waiting buses.
The ride home was interminable as it drove and stopped, drove and stopped. It finally reached his house and he jumped out and ran in.
Momma had just gotten home from her job and had taken off her coat in the hall.
“Momma!” Patrick ran up to her and hugged her tight. “I’m sorry I broke the rules last night. I was so excited about the poster contest, I forgot.”
“That’s alright, Peanut.” Momma hugged him back. “Did you think of something for your poster?”
“Yes!” Patrick stood back and proudly stuck out his chest. “Mr. Pinkle taught us about the First Nation and how they were treated.”
Momma was confused. “But I don’t see how that…”
“Its gonna be perfect, Momma!” Patrick interrupted. “My poster is going to say, “I love Canada because we can say ‘I’m sorry’! And, I am going to draw First Nations on it and everything! What do you think?”
She smiled gently. “It will be perfect, Peanut!”
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