Thursday, December 15, 2011


Carolyn McIntosh lives in Edmonton, Alberta and is a Canadian citizen.  She has just returned from an extended tour of the United States, with her family, during which she took copius (beautiful) photos and posted frequent travelogue notes to her blog. 

Her brief story, Patriotism, is really her reflection on Canada's neighbors in America. 

Normally the biographical sketch of the guest author is presented at the end of their story.  But for this week's post, I'm going to depart from that format because I think it's important that you know, in her own words, just who Carolyn is.   

I suspect you will really enjoy her very short piece, and you will LOVE her photographs. 

Carolyn 's Biographical Sketch:

Recently retired, I decided to make this chapter of my life about fulfilling dreams that had laid on the shelf due to the everyday busyness of life. After a 26 year hiatus, I picked up a camera again and decided that with my expiry date running out sooner than I would like (“Carolyn has recently crossed the half-century mark and feels she has at least a lifetime of learning left to complete her education.” --MA), I should accelerate the learning curve . . .. soooo the last three years have been about the relentless pursuit of photography and putting the knowledge to use by striking some items off my bucket list and capturing those moments and the magic that my soul felt when actually being on the spot and breathing the air where history took place.

The three month tour we recently took of the USA, including the South and Civil War History, was unbelievably profound and at times visceral. Annnnnd, I am a Canadian.

My previous working lives included that of wife/mother/homemaker, teaching Adult Education, Legal Assistant (Paralegal) and administration involvement in the property management field.

My husband Lynnwood and I have been married for 42 years . . .. and I am a much better person because he has been in my life. We have twins, 41, Michael and Michelle and four grandchildren . . . Aryana, Raquel, Sterling and Desiree. They make my heart sing . . one should always be a grandparent first.

Some of my proudest moments in photography were when I found out that one of my photos had been published in a National Canadian Photography magazine and also one of my Vegas photos was featured in the Air Canada flight magazine. When we are not travelling, I do commission work in the field of architecture. I love it . .. . ‘cause buildings don’t smile with their eyes closed or sit with their shoulders hunched!!!

National Cathedral, Washington, D.C;

You can see more of Carolyn's work at the following links:

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Michelle Alton
___________________ Carolyn McIntosh

Lincoln's Hand.  Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C.

I have always admired the patriotism that the Americans have for their country, its flag and its national anthem.  Almost without exception when the National Anthem is played the men click their heels even if they are not in the military, place their hand over their heart, and sing with GUSTO.  Canadians could well adopt some of this gusto.  It appalls me when people don't stand, take off their hats and when they continue to chew gum rather than SING.  Although, I do have to say that our National pride was kicked up a notch when we hosted the Olympic Games.

I now better understand where this comes from.  Americans not only teach their school children their history, they take them to it.  If you think planning a trip in October to visit historic sites takes you away from the madding crowds, WRONG.  There were buses lined up as far as the eye could see taking these kids to see and experience where history took place.  In fact, if you are walking and are not quite sure if you are headed in the right direction, just look for the buses. 

Iwo Jima. Washington, D.C.

At Iwo Jima I have no idea how many bus loads of school kids were being brought to the site and they were getting history on the road.  The Old Post Office had a group from Kentucky and they were visiting Washington for a week.  Hooray for these kids . . . they will remember this part of their education for a lifetime.

It is my belief that Canadians think their history is boring and dull, however we have had some interesting figures in the past and we should know our own history. I don't think very many schools have week long trips to Ottawa or to the Plains of Abraham where some of our beginning history happened.  It would be more real if they did. 

Our children were certainly never offered this chance and I don't think it is a regular occurrence today.  That should change.  We know American history well, but I am not so sure we know our own as well.  I think there are a lot of people, including adults, who could not name all our Prime Ministers even dating back to the 1960's, let alone to John A. MacDonald.                                                                                                                                                                       

When I asked Tammy's Dave why he chose the military as his career, his immediate answer and without one second of hesitation was "Because I love my Country".  Plain and simple and from the heart.  I haven't heard that passion from many Canadians.

This is the flag that hangs outside their front door and this is not an uncommon sight.

Stars and Stripes...a stirring flag for sure!

When we first took our grandchildren to the United States for a road trip I wanted them to experience the culture of another country.  One of the first things I pointed out to them that was different from Canada, was the flag hanging outside the homes.

We Canadians should do more of that . . . I am proud to be a Canadian and we should display our pride more often.

  All photographs by Carolyn McIntosh

Bonus Shots:

Monticello, the home of Thomas Jefferson

Robert E. Lee . . . The Gentleman Soldier and General

Loved this door of a church , just at the end of Monument Avenue, Richmond, Virginia

Library of Congress. Washington, D.C.

Blue Ridge Mountains. North Carolina

Smoky Mountains. Tennessee

The Oval Office.  White House

 Looking up the stairs to the Senate, State Capitol, Arkansas

From an "Amber Wave of Grain"   Wrigley Museum, Phoenix, Arizona

Key Lime DIE for!
Bell Rock.  Sedona, Arizona

The Seals Barking at La Jolla, California

Crashing Waves.  La Jolla, California
Pink Flamingo, San Diego Zoo
Eye of the Elephant. San Diego Zoo
Panda. San Diego Zoo
Orcas in Unison.  San Diego Sea World
Sea Lion. San Diego Sea World
Snow on the Mountains. Somewhere in Utah

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Anonymous said...

Hi Carolyn I believe Canada has a wonderful history and that patriotism does exist. You mention the plains of Abraham but next year will be the bicentenary of the Wars of 1812. I am fifth generation Australian but proud to have my heritage in Canada and earlier in the USA. I think you have hit the nail on the head about history being taught in schools!! Great story and images. Brett Dolsen

Art Rosch said...

Lincoln's closed but meditative hand is a wonderful shot among many wonderful shots. Canada has an intricate history. It's also a country that is bi-lingual (if you leave out the native Canadian dialects), which makes for a very interesting dynamic. I meet a lot of Francophone Canadians as a full time RV dweller. Very sweet people! Love your photos!

Bob Cammarata said...

It's so true that America is all about history.
Thanks Carolyn, for sharing your brief travelogue and wonderful photos.

Anne Young said...

Really enjoyed reading your article and loved your photos.

Joe DiGilio said...

Your photos are super Carolyn and I appreciate your perspective of Americans & our history. I think you are right on target.

Greg Gaskin said...

Thanks for the nice comments about our people and our country Carolyn. Living just across the Detroit River from Canada I have had the privilege to meet numerous Canadians. During my many years as a Detroit Red Wing Season Ticket holder I spent scores of a nights cheering for the boys wearing the winged wheel along with my Canadian neighbors. I have always thought of Canadians as our cousins to the north, just like us but with better manners and better beer. We as Americans tend to be very demonstrative while I think Canadians tend to be more reserved (with the possible exception of Don Cherry). Loved your pictures!