Short Stories - non fiction

Karaoke Canada Day


After we bought our house 21 years ago, we started to celebrate Canada Day which takes place on July 1st every year. Our son was 2 years old, and we would take him to the local events in our city. 

My Dad’s birthday in on July 5th, so we began combining the celebration of his birthday and Canada Day. We would usually have a nice BBQ and cake and enjoy sitting on the deck.

Since my Dad’s birthday was a draw card for family, the celebration started to grow each year. Eventually people stopped visiting at Christmas, and Canada Day became our annual family reunion. It made sense because we were all off work, and it is much easier to travel in the summer in Canada. 

My family likes to party, and they like to sing. So I invested in a karaoke machine for our annual party. Initially my family were quite standoffish about the machine. Many of them claimed that “there was no way” we’d get them to sing. 

However, as the wine and beer flowed, and the sun went down, the idea seemed to grow on people. Eventually my family were lining up the next song they wanted to sing, and thoroughly enjoying this fun new toy. 

I later learned that many of my neighbours would sit outside and listen to the goings on at our house. Sometimes singing along, other times laughing at the rendition of a given song which was being massacred.

My husband, being the jokester that he is, made me feel like I could really sing. He did this so that I would get up and belt out a tune with the utmost confidence, all the while I actually sucked. Cheep laughs at my expense. I know that I sucked because someone filmed me singing at one of our parties, and I later had the pleasure of watching myself sing “Dream On” by Aerosmith, in a very poor, yet confident manner. Wow….it was really bad!

As the years went on, the guest list grew, and the party became quite the event. My mother had the idea that people should wear funny hats, so we introduced that into the mix. This added a whole new level of fun. Karaoke and funny hats, what could be better?

My cousin Michael and his family joined us one year. He came sporting a hockey helmet for a hat. A friend of mine later confessed that she thought there was something “wrong” with him. Michael is a professor at a local university, he has all of his faculties in order. However, Michael is very funny. He held off singing all evening, but when I announced that we were shutting down the karaoke for the night as it was getting close to midnight, Michael in his hockey helmet grabbed the mic and belted out an Ozzie Osborne tune “Crazy Train”. Before he began his song he said “Hello Kanata” in a big loud voice, he sounded like a true rock star. I am pretty sure he woke up the neighbourhood. The “Hello Kanata” incident was talked about for years.

SInce I have to live in our neighbourhood and I am not a guest, I was always very conscientious about closing down the party at a respectable time. At midnight the music would stop. However, my family of night owls were quite resistant to the notion of ending the party, and wanted to keep it going until all hours. It was a battle year after year. 

One year, the phone rang at about 1:30 am. It was bi-law calling to ask us to shut down the party. One of the neighbours had complained. The funny thing was, the phone call woke up my husband! Bruce, who doesn’t drink, was not amused. He crawled downstairs in his tidy whities, stood at the back patio door, and gave the remaining partiers the one finger salute with both hands. They all thought this was hilarious and somewhat creepy. Another memorable moment that was laughed about for years to come.

Over the years the party has changed locations. This year it is being hosted by my niece Corrina and her partner Jerome in St Catharine’s Ontario. I am not able to attend this year, but I am thinking of them and remembering the good times.

Canada is an awesome country to live in. Canada Day is the perfect time to celebrate our country and to be proud of what it stands for. Enjoy the freedom of a being able to host a backyard karaoke party. Freedom that we often take for granted in this great country. Cheers Canada!

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