Tim Belford: Short Takes On Life
Tim Belford
Tim Belford
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Tim Belford is host of Quebec A.M. -- CBC Radio's popular English- language morning show (91.7 FM, 6-9, Mon.-Fri). He also is said to know a thing or three about wine.

Posted 01.21.04
Quebec City


Did I ever tell you about warm?

Once upon a time I lived in the West Indies.

It was a long time ago now.

Antigua, where I found myself, was actually still officially part of the 'British' West Indies.

As a matter of fact, the currency was still referred to as "bee-wee" from the letters BWI.

What I remember most about Antigua was that it was the opposite of Canada.

It was warm, not just for two weeks somewhere between July and August but pretty Well all the time.

And it wasn't like Canadian warm.

It was never that one hundred and twenty percent humidity Where you might as well Wear a bathrobe to work.

There was no smog warning. Not like Toronto or Montreal. No one was ever cautioned to hold their breath until conditions cleared In a week or two.

No it was just a pleasant balmy warm, tempered by the ocean breezes.

Winter was basically an unknown quantity.

One of the hardest things I've ever had to do was to explain to my students our national sport.

Remember, I was dealing with children whose only concept of ice came in cubes.

As I described a large field of ice cubes all melted Into one, their eyes became wide.

When I talked about putting on shoes with metal blades and sliding back and forth across the rink, they started to back away.

When I told them about the stick, I was on firmer ground because of their experience with field hockey.

But when I described a puck as being akin to a cricket ball turned into a disk by lopping off two sides of the rounded surface, I lost them.

No matter, because it was warm.

It was warm when the first blush of dawn hit the front balcony. It was warm when I took my morning shower In the outdoor stall.

It was warm at noon when we all took a two-hour break from the daily grind.

It was warm at cocktail hour when the ice tinkled into the glass. It was warm at night as we slumbered in the evening breeze.

It was always warm.

Would you believe it? Not once in the entire time I was in Antigua did it snow.

Not once did I awake to find it sleeting outside And my car covered with six inches of permafrost!

Not once did anyone ever drive by me and cover me with a thick spray of Slush!

The only salt I used came from a shaker. The only rubberized footwear was a pair of flippers. The only toque in the entire Village belonged to the local Rastafarian.

And did I mention? It was warm.

So, if you pass me on the street as I slog through winter's weight and my eyes seem closed to the elements and I don't see You.

Don't be insulted or alarmed. I'm well. I'm just a thousand miles away, where It's warm.