Cumberland Times-News

Jim Goldsworthy - Anything and Everything

May 4, 2014

They’re a lot like us, but don’t get cold

Because I am a professional newspaperman, I occasionally run across items that qualify for my list of Dumbest Things I’ve Ever Heard. (I quit adding to it long ago because of its unmanageable size.) One of the most memorable Dumbest Things I’ve Ever Heard was this: “Why doesn’t America make Canada the 51st state?” This implies a level of ignorance that would be incomprehensible to most people, but it actually applies to a conversation I had with one of the Canadians that Capt. Gary and I met during our recent Gettysburg campaign.

They were great guys, and what they knew about American history and America in general probably was more than many Americans know.

One asked us, “What was the name of the ship that the Hunley sank?”

CSS (Confederate States Ship) Hunley was a Confederate submarine and the first of its kind to sink another ship during wartime. I said it was USS Housatonic. Hunley was lost after torpedoing her in 1864 and was raised in Y2K. Her crew was still on board, and they were buried with full Confederate military honors.

My friend Joe Davis, a Rebel re-enactor from Tennessee, contends that Hunley was a war grave and should have been left undisturbed. I will not disagree with him.

Joe and his buddies had the opportunity to sit in a full-size replica of Hunley and man the cranking device that turned her propeller. (Joe, a Navy veteran, would refer to it as “the screw.”) He said it was one of the proudest moments of his life.

I demonstrated to our new friends that I — a Yankee from West Virginia — actually know some things about Canada.

They were from Toronto, and were overjoyed to hear that I had traveled twice through their beautiful city on the way to go fishing in northern Ontario (their home province) and had been to places like North Bay and Temagami.

I have encountered Canadians before, usually during The Famous Company of Myrtle Beach Golfers’ pilgrimages.

We could always tell who the Canadians were, especially in late January, because it would be 50 degrees out and we were wearing long johns, sweatshirts and jackets. The folks from The Frozen North would be clad in tanktops and shorts.

Anybody who would drive 1,000 miles just to play golf is hard-core.

The guys we met in Gettysburg went there for that reason, and the captain and I visited with them three nights in a row at Gettysburg Eddie’s, where we go for provisioning purposes.

I told them I had fallen in love with Canadian beer — specifically Labatt and Molson ale, both of which at the time were 11 or 12 percent alcohol and tasted like beer ought to taste.

After drinking a six-pack of it, one of my buddies dropped his trousers to get undressed and sat down on his bed. His top half kept on going, and we had to lift his legs and turn him 90 degrees in order to get the rest of him in bed. We left his pants at half-mast.

When they began selling Molson in America,
I was beside myself with anticipation — only to find out that it tasted just like American beer, having been brewed with that intent in mind.

“It’s not the same as it used to be,” one of the Canadians said. “The alcohol content isn’t half of what it was when you drank it.”

I told one of the Canadians there is frequent discussion about who won the War of 1812 — the Americans or the British — but the winner actually was Canada. (If you want to know why this is so, look it up.) On top of that, every time the Americans invaded Canada, the Canadians threw their (beasts of burden) back across the border.

His eyes got big, and he said, “That’s right!”

He was astonished to find out that I knew Canada is British today because it was saved (for the most part) from becoming French at the Battle of the Plains of Abraham. The Brits whipped the French at Montreal by scaling cliffs the French thought didn’t need to be defended because they were too steep for an army to climb.

During the Korean War, I said, Gen. Douglas MacArthur invaded at Inchon because of what happened at the Plains of Abraham.

Inchon has the most extreme tides in Asia, and the surrounding terrain is hideous. Mac said the North Koreans would never expect him to land there, so he did, and it worked.

Where, you may well ask, did I learn such things? In Frank Calemine’s 10th-grade American History class, that’s where.

One of the Canadians knew a lot about our Civil War, but he got the sides wrong. He thought Pickett’s Charge was made by the Union.

I told him that if he wanted to understand America’s Civil War, he should look at this way: Our southern states were to rest of America what Quebec is to the rest of Canada.

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Jim Goldsworthy - Anything and Everything
  • He means well, and this time they spared his life

    Our pal Phil is the only re-enactor certified in writing by both the Lee and Custis families to portray Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee (whose wife was Mary Anna Custis Lee). When he’s in uniform, he generally stops at the bottom of the path that leads to the summit of Little Round Top, salutes Capt. Gary and First Sgt. Goldy and asks permission to join us. (Get it? Generally ... General Lee?) We always return his salute and grant him permission, in part because he’s our friend and also because the real Lee never got to see what it really looks like from up there. (Get it? Grant ... Grant? U.S. Grant? Real Lee ... really? OK. I hear you. That’s enough. Seriouslee.) Phil gets a kick out of being able to sneak up on us while we’re distracted by tourists.

    July 20, 2014

  • They’d have fallen like Autumn leaves

    So there we were, minding our own business (at least momentarily), leaning against the cannon at Little Round Top.

    July 13, 2014

  • Better read that french fry before you eat it

    People give me otherwise-insignificant items they hope will amuse or inspire me. I appreciate this. I’m always glad for free entertainment, which as Goldy’s Rule 33 says is everywhere. All you have to do is wait and it will come to you. Also, I have been writing columns for 37 years and embrace inspiration anywhere I can find it.

    July 6, 2014

  • The moose is loose, and it’s coming for you

    So how would you like to look out your kitchen door window onto your porch and see a moose looking back at you from close range?

    June 28, 2014

  • There are some debts you can never repay

    Today’s column will be relatively short, as my columns go, for reasons that should become apparent, and I thought long and hard before writing it.

    June 21, 2014

  • It could have saved the county a lot of money

    Random thoughts sometimes occur to me when I least expect it, usually when my brain has become tired.
    When I voice these thoughts at work or in other places, people may tell me, “Goldy? It’s time for you to go home.” Yes, ma’am.
    Here are two random thoughts of recent vintage:
    • If Bugs Bunny were an Emergency Medical Technician, would that make him a MedicHare?
    • If Daisy Duck got a job driving for United Parcel Service, would she be an UPS-a-Daisy?
    I wouldn’t blame you if you think that sounds Goofy — or Daffy.

    June 15, 2014

  • These two were part of the Not Top Ten

    Occasionally, at this time of year, I see reference to a “class orator” or a “class speaker.”

    Nothing wrong with that — people can call such things whatever they want, as far as I’m concerned — but it makes me wonder. Have “valedictorian” and “salutatorian” become politically incorrect, and I didn’t notice? It may come as a surprise to you, but I really have not kept up with what is politically correct or incorrect. That’s what people tell me, anyway. With some of them, it actually seems to be a compliment.

    June 8, 2014

  • Coming soon to a highway near you?

    People say to me, “Goldy? Can I ask you a stupid question?”

    In theory — and theory only — the correct response is: “The only stupid question is the one you don’t ask.” Not so much. There ARE stupid questions, some of them so stupid that to call them stupid is to damn them with faint praise. Other questions are — on the face of it — legitimate questions, but shouldn’t be treated as such ... not if you subscribe to the same philosophy that I do: Free entertainment is everywhere; all you have to do is wait, and it will come to you.

    June 1, 2014

  • This was a skill that proved very useful

    The Belmont Park stewards have decided to let California Chrome wear his nasal strip during the Run for the Carnations. Nasal strips usually are worn by people who snore and may have saved numerous marriages. It helps the Triple Crown hopeful to breathe, and some twolegged athletes wear nasal strips for the same reason. In this case, Chrome’s nasal strip may keep him from (wait for it) ... losing by a nose.

    May 25, 2014

  • He made a big splash by asking this question

    “I don’t know who you were talking to last night,” said Capt. Gary, “but you were talking and moaning in your sleep. Never heard you do that before.” Neither has anyone else, I said. Besides, I had told him not to be surprised if we had visitors. I wasn’t at the top of my game for a couple of days, and he said some of our friends asked him if I was all right. It’s not the first time for this, so now I’ll know to watch out for it. It can affect you and is not something to play around with — as our friend Cathy found out.

    May 18, 2014

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