Jim Sinclair: Flower power wilts somewhat

A couple of weeks ago while listening to the local morning news, I heard the blossom count was down. I just about coughed up a Mini-Wheat!

Was I hearing right or could there have been some kind of mistake?

The numbers were down but, enough of that. How were we going to deal with it?

E-mails, phone calls and traditional postcards by the millions would have to be held back – the annual, friendly kick-in-the-teeth to everyone on the other side of Chilliwack and especially the Prairies, had to be postponed.

Folks from Melville to Moncton would get the report from their news sources: we had fewer blossoms than in past years.

But Canadians are basically a caring crew, so it would have been heartwarming to be privy to some of the plans hatched in places like The Pas and Lloydminster for our benefit.

A lot of imagination would have likely gone into these schemes designed to cheer us up … maybe some large greeting card-like efforts, or some videos of singing children? It’s nice to know we can count on their ongoing support.

Of course the nation has not likely been standing by with bated breath for updates on our blossom count. Do you think they might just be getting a little tired of hearing about the blooming tally, and maybe even thinking less of us because of it?

My family moved to the West Coast in 1966, so I can’t speak as a native. But I can vouch for never having noticed a lot of anti-B.C. sentiment during my formative years on the Prairies.

There was no bitterness around our southern Alberta home, for instance, over a March weather report delivered at -29 C and describing a high of 10 C in Victoria that day.

I never noticed the contempt until much later upon visiting points east. I found out that trumpeting the joys of Island residency is not necessarily the best way to make a good impression.

I’m not suggesting there are no vague, isolated feelings of West Coast envy when cold weather grips the heartland like a vise. But feelings of mild irritation are likely to spring up when things like record-setting blossom counts, December lawn mowing and winter golf are enthusiastically brought up.

It’s not like there aren’t other things about “The Best Place on Earth” to slam. The labour movement may not be as strong as it once was, but that’s one. Then there’s the volatile nature of our political scene – as wacky as ever according to some eastern observers.

But the flower count makes us feel better.

A little bit of good-natured fun never hurt anyone, did it? A little bit of a competitive streak is good for productivity and team spirit, right? That’s why mayors always make bets with each other about who wears whose shirt after a championship. No one can say it’s wrong; after all, it’s not like an armed conflict or anything. It’s not intended to inflame … or incite.

In terms of region-to-region one-upmanship, as long as it’s done without smugness it’s pretty well allowable. If you steer clear of smugness and malice you’ve got carte blanche. Smugness, malice, redundancy and annoying repetition: just avoid those and it should all work out.

Actually a bit of redundancy might not be so bad after all – we can just re-count a few billion of those blossoms then share the updated figures with the folks in Peace River. How do you think they’ll like that?

Jim Sinclair is a reporter with the Sooke News Mirror.

news@sookenewsmirror.com

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