Tag Archives: Ontario

Turkey, Tradition, and the National Fabric: An Excerpt on the Origins of Canadian Thanksgiving

The air is cooling, scarves are knotting, and across the country Canadians will gather ‘round autumnal tables for their annual Thanksgiving dinner. And though some Canucks may be deciding on a side dish and how to skirt political debate, there’s another question on many minds:

What exactly are we doing here? 

While the American Thanksgiving is steeped in nationalism, ritual, and history, the origins of the Canadian version are a little less clear, with few of us actually knowing where the holiday comes from. If this makes you feel mildly guilty, focus that energy on your cranberry sauce instead. We’ve got you covered with the context you’ll need to impress your guests this Thanksgiving weekend.

For answers, we turned to Celebrating Canada: Holidays, National Days, and the Crafting of Identities, from editors Matthew Hayday and Raymond B. Blake. From the pages of Peter Stevens’s essay on where it all began – think church, Brits, and our neighbours to the south – learn how Thanksgiving was always meant to be a day to celebrate being Canadian.


Excerpt from “‘Righteousness Exalteth the Nation’: Religion, Nationalism, and Thanksgiving Day in Ontario, 1859–1914”, by Peter A. Stevens 

In the United states of America, few annual events stir the national imagination as thoroughly as Thanksgiving Day. The holiday’s rituals and symbols harken back to the nation’s founding fathers, evoking images of pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock and sharing a harvest feast with the surrounding Native peoples in 1621. The myth of this first Thanksgiving, which is a staple in the education of every American schoolchild, informs U.S. citizens that their country is a land of opportunity and new beginnings, a place of piety, abundance, and inclusivity. Other Thanksgiving customs uphold family, consumerism, and competition as core American values. The holiday is a favourite occasion for get-togethers with friends and relatives, with festivities revolving around turkey dinners, Santa Claus parades, and football games, all unfolding against the backdrop of autumn leaves and newly gathered crops. Scholars have parsed American Thanksgiving in considerable detail, and there is a lively debate over which Thanksgiving traditions are rooted in historical fact and which are based in fiction. What is beyond dispute, however, is the overtly nationalistic character of the day.

In the Canadian context, by contrast, Thanksgiving Day is surrounded by ambiguity. Media reports regularly express doubts about the meaning and purpose of the holiday, while Canadians themselves often seem unsure about how their Thanksgiving differs from the American one, and why the two holidays do not share the same date. Thus far, scholars have offered few answers to these questions, as academic treatments of Canadian Thanksgiving are scarce, speculative, and limited in their analysis. Significantly, these works downplay the holiday’s importance as a patriotic celebration, making only passing reference to a “subtle influence of Canadian nationalism” that is evident on Thanksgiving Day. This chapter cannot relate the entire the history of Canadian Thanksgiving, but it does take up the beginning of the story by examining the origins of the holiday in late-nineteenth-century Ontario. In doing so, it reveals that Canadian Thanksgiving initially had a nationalistic focus that it since has largely lost. In the minds of the men who first developed the holiday, Thanksgiving was intended to be a day for celebrating Canada.

The existing literature on national public holidays in North America raises several points that help to illuminate the specific history of Thanksgiving Day in Canada. First, while public holidays often appear to be age-old celebrations that emerged organically out of the national fabric, they are actually examples of invented traditions. According to Eric Hobsbawm, an invented tradition is “a set of practices, normally governed by overtly or tacitly accepted rules and of a ritual or symbolic nature, which seek to inculcate certain values and norms of behaviour by repetition, which automatically implies continuity with the past.” Holidays, as annual events that are steeped in ritual, constitute a powerful form of invented tradition, for while they seem to be neutral and apolitical, they are actually compelling advertisements for the world views of those who shape and promote them.

Second, public holidays often serve as important tools of nation building. Holiday customs and iconography give members of a population a sense of a shared past and subtly inform them about who they are as a people. By reinforcing messages about common values and experiences, holidays thus encourage individual citizens to imagine themselves as being members of the same political community, or nation. This is not to suggest that the meanings of holidays are static, however. Because holidays are such potent expressions of national beliefs, ambitions, and identity, they become temporal battlegrounds in the cultural contests between different interest groups. Holidays are contested terrain, and their meanings can change over time as they are controlled and influenced by groups that have competing visions for the nation.

Where Canadian Thanksgiving is concerned, the figures who were most responsible for establishing the celebration on an annual basis were Protestant clergymen in Ontario. Their interest in the holiday was primarily a response to two great challenges that faced them, as Canadian church leaders, beginning in the second half of the nineteenth century. Particularly after Confederation, ministers felt a moral and historical obligation to chart Canada’s course. At the very moment that preachers most sensed a call to lead their country, however, global intellectual developments issued challenges to Christianity so fundamental that they threatened to dissolve many Christians’ faith. The American Thanksgiving holiday revealed to church leaders a means by which they could restore Canadians’ confidence in Christianity and secure their own positions at the helm of the young country.

Ontario clergymen did not simply duplicate the American Thanksgiving festival, which by the 1860s had evolved into a national public holiday. Rather, they recast Thanksgiving as a predominantly religious event and naturalized the holiday by steeping it in Canadian nationalism. Ontarians responded positively to this mix of Protestantism and patriotism, and ministers successfully instituted Thanksgiving as an annual holiday in Ontario. Once Thanksgiving became a yearly event, however, other cultural interest groups increasingly challenged Protestants’ holiday hegemony. As a result of these challenges, the Thanksgiving that Ontarians marked on the eve of the Great War was little like the holiday that clergymen had established several decades earlier. Yet, one aspect of the holiday remained unchanged: its nationalist content. Although Thanksgiving acquired many new meanings and customs, it remained throughout the Victorian period a day for Ontarians to celebrate their status as Canadians.

The early history of Thanksgiving Day in Ontario contributes to discussions of religion in late-nineteenth-century Canada by highlighting the prominent but waning influence of Protestant church leaders within the public sphere. It also complicates our understanding of Canadian patriotism during this critical period in the country’s history. In particular, the origins of Canadian Thanksgiving demonstrate the complex and sometimes contradictory ways that citizens of the new dominion sought to define themselves in relation to both Great Britain and the United states. In this respect, Thanksgiving Day had much in common with Dominion Day, Empire Day, and other public celebrations of the era, which likewise sought to define Canadian identity in reference to both Britain and the United States.

Read Stevens’s full article in Celebrating Canada: Holidays, National Days, and the Crafting of Identities.

 

The Meaning of Change: Your Guide to the Upcoming Ontario Election

In advance of the June 7, 2018 Ontario election, we asked the authors of The Politics of Ontario, Cheryl N. Collier and Jonathan Malloy, to outline how their recently published book will provide Ontario voters with the necessary background to make an informed decision. 

In the run-up to the Ontario provincial election on June 7, what better guide to the Ontario political scene than our recently-published book The Politics of Ontario? We led fifteen expert contributors from across Ontario in an in-depth analysis of all aspects of the Ontario political scene, from the economy to the media to racial diversity and much more. The result is an engaging book that connects short-term current issues and partisan debates to the long-term context of Canada’s most populous and diverse province.

Elections are always about change, but the contrast in 2018 is particularly stark, with the Progressive Conservatives and NDP both challenging the long-entrenched Liberals with two very contrasting directions for change. The underlying theme of The Politics of Ontario is also change—but more precisely, uneven and contested change. What has happened to Ontario in recent years? What hasn’t happened? And has too much happened—in some cases, too quickly?

For example, our book outlines the remarkable and ever-growing racial diversity of the province and the “firsts” of Kathleen Wynne as an openly gay woman premier, but also the underrepresentation of women and racialized minorities and the continuing dominance of traditional male elites in political and economic life. We examine the decline of Ontario’s traditional manufacturing base, its lurching and uncertain fiscal health, the largely failed Liberal green energy strategy, and the decline of Ontario’s preeminence in Confederation. Despite these challenges, Ontario maintains a fundamental diversified strength and continuing position of wealth within Canada. We review the massive upheaval of municipal institutions in Ontario over the last two decades, and whether any of this was necessary. And we offer an insider’s look at the McGuinty and Wynne governments and the tension between public policy decision-making at Queen’s Park and the reality of politics on the ground. We also analyze:

– The distinct political culture of Northern Ontario and the “politics of extraction”
– The relevance of traditional media and the Ontario press gallery in the twenty-first century
– The roller-coaster state of labour relations in Ontario over the last thirty years
– The legislative and executive institutions of Ontario and where power really lies
– Ontario’s unusual confluence of environmental and electricity policy, often with unexpected and costly consequences
– The growth of Toronto as a global city ambivalent about its role and standing in the province

So, when all is said and done, has Ontario politics really changed? Graham White’s opening chapter asks “whether the scale of social change evident in Ontario since 1950 has been matched by a similar scale of change politically” (3) and our book suggests it has not. We outline how Ontarians both historically and today have been mostly politically indifferent, with a limited appetite for new ideas or profound change. We stand by this assessment even in the era of Doug Ford, who brings a new style to Ontario politics but with a familiar message that recent changes have happened too fast and need to be frozen or turned back. Again and again, The Politics of Ontario finds surprisingly limited change. Ontario has among the lowest voter turnout levels in the country, and the exact same three political parties in the legislature for over sixty years—no other party has even briefly broken into the club, unlike every other province in Canada. Instead, the existing parties constantly change and adapt, often very opportunistically. In fact, the very way in which:

– Doug Ford was able to discard Patrick Brown’s entire platform and strategy;
– The Wynne government could flip the script from a priority of balancing the budget in 2017 to blowing out the deficit this year; and
– The Rae government’s hard-won lessons about the perils of promising too much appear to have been entirely erased from NDP party history and platforms;

…all show the essential hollowness and lack of enduring principles that characterize Ontario political parties, who as we say in the book, “…show little aptitude for ideas that endure beyond the next election date; nor do they engage citizens and societal forces beyond their small bands of loyalists… [E]ven by the modest standards of Canadian political parties generally, Ontario parties are weak as democratic vehicles, and serve primarily as election machines at the disposal of their leaders.” (206)

The Politics of Ontario does not predict the winner of the 2018 election; it is written for the long run, and about the challenges that will face whoever does win. It presents both valuable background history and current analysis that provide illumination through the fog of election campaigns.

The 2018 provincial election is likely to be bitter and tough, and The Politics of Ontario will be a valuable guide to what change really means in Ontario.

The Politics of Ontario is edited by Cheryl N. Collier and Jonathan Malloy with chapters contributed by:

Graham White
Matthias Oschinski
Rand Dyck
Peter Woolstencroft
Tracey Raney
Bryan Evans
Daniel Henstra
Julie M. Simmons
Tamara A.Small
Gina Comeau
Anna Esselment
Mark Winfield
Myer Siemiatycki
Larry Savage
Martin Horak

Cheryl N. Collier is Associate Professor and Undergraduate Chair in the Department of Political Science and Co-Director of the Health Research Centre for the Study of Violence Against Women at the University of Windsor.

Jonathan Malloy is Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science at Carleton University.

Behind the Book with Christopher Moore

9781442650145Christopher Moore is the author of The Court of Appeal for Ontario: Defining the Right of Appeal 1792-2013, recently published by University of Toronto Press and the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History.

How did you become involved in your area of research?
I am a historian by training, but I have always worked as a self-employed, trade-market book writer. I cover Canadian history very widely , but I had never done anything related to legal history until I got a call from an editor in 1994. The Law Society of Upper Canada wanted its history written; would I be interested? I heard later they had approached some leading legal scholars who said it would take ten years and cost a million bucks. I agreed I could do it a bit faster, on a smaller budget.

University of Toronto Press published The Law Society of Upper Canada and Ontario’s Lawyers in 1997. In the years since then, many details I could only allude to in that survey have been picked up and explored in detail in articles and even dissertations, which has been satisfying.

And the Law Society liked what it got. Since then I have continued to practise legal history as a sort of “minor.” From time to time I get a chance to do a legal history research project, and usually I jump at it.

What inspired you to write this book?
The best kind of inspiration: a call out of the blue. While Warren Winkler was chief justice of Ontario, he decided a history of his court, the court of appeal, would be one of the legacy projects of his term in office. With the help of the Law Foundation of Ontario and the Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History, he got the project launched. And they thought I could help them with it.

How did you become interested in the subject?
I’m a working historian with my shingle out. If people want me to work on a historical subject that is important to them, chances are I am going to be interested.

How long did it take you to write your latest book?
A couple of years. Given Chief Justice Winkler’s role in launching this project (see above), we wanted to wrap it up around the time of his retirement and publish it not too long after. He retired in December 2013, and that made a useful terminus date for the history. A deadline does help focus the mind.

For a long time, the administrative files of courts were whatever a chief justice kept in his bottom left hand desk drawer – and threw away when he retired, usually. Pulling together sources for the evolution of courts is a nice historical challenge, because except for recent years they tend to be scattered and incomplete.

What do you find most interesting about your area of research?
My own legal histories have been institutional, but I hope they help lay down a framework and suggest questions for more theoretical analyses by specialists. And I do work hard at making legal history readable and accessible to busy lawyers and judges and other interested non-academics.

Legal history is a rich and fruitful field for any historian. Coming to it late, without any legal training, I discovered lawyers and legal historians get involved in a little of everything: crime, politics, business, property, family, but in a focused and manageable way. Legal history has a firm spine in statutes and cases and legal institutions, but it offers a window on a great range of human experience. Given the turn away from political, constitutional, institutional history by historians, legal historians have re-invigorated that whole area with a lot of fresh perspectives. Legal sources can also open up a whole range of social history subjects, too: gender history, labour studies, lots else.

What do you wish other people knew about your area of research?
There is a lot of terrific work being done in Canadian legal history, by historians and by lawyers – and opportunities for publication too. The Osgoode Society has such a successful publishing program – with UTP mostly — because it is supported by many lawyers who take their profession and its history seriously, and because it sets high standards and supports good scholars from many fields of study.

What’s the most surprising thing you discovered during the course of your research?
As a freelance writer, I don’t get to have researchers much. But for this project, support from the Law Foundation of Ontario let us hire a bunch of students to research in the case law of the Court of Appeal. I should not have been surprised, but I found out again: there are a lot of bright, dedicated, passionate, well-organized young people out there. I hope we find ways to keep them busy.

Do you have to travel much concerning the research/writing of your book?
Just from my home to Osgoode Hall in downtown Toronto, where they were good enough to find me a little work space in that remarkable building for a couple of years.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Writing is always the hard part. Writing is the only really hard thing I seem to be any good at.

Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?

The right of appeal seems to be one of those unchanging thousand-year old fundamentals of justice. In fact, it is a very historically-contingent thing – as historians might expect, but it sometimes surprises lawyers. Well into the 20th century one could be sentenced to death in Canada with no right of appeal whatsoever. My subtitle “defining the right of appeal” was a late choice, but it speaks to something I found myself pursuing all through this project.

What are your current/future projects?
In 2015 Penguin Canada is going to publish my Three Weeks in Quebec City, about the making of the Canadian constitution at Quebec City in 1864. It is part of their History of Canada series, edited by Robert Bothwell and Margaret MacMillan. And Canada’s History will need a column soon. And I keep up my history blog .

What do you like to read for pleasure? What are you currently reading?

I just read Ian McEwan’s short novel The Children Act. I was not thinking of it as legal history, but he does explore how judges think and the moral seriousness that judging engages. Judges I have met are pretty impressive people, by and large.

What is your favourite book?

Years ago someone told me about Montaillou, Emmanuel LeRoy Ladurie’s extraordinary total history of a village in the Pyrenees in the late 1200s. I found a copy and read the whole long, detailed, challenging thing very slowly in French. When I finished it, I thought I was the only person in North America who knew this amazing book. A week later Time magazine reviewed the English translation. But for me it remains one of the great inspirational histories.

It’s legal history of a kind, come to think of it: it is based on the Inquisition records from when they interrogated the whole village on heresy charges.

Behind the Book: Lessons from the 2003-2006 “Sharia Debate”

Anna C. Korteweg and Jennifer A. Selby, editors of Debating Sharia, consider the 2003 debate surrounding the question of the Ontario government allowing Sharia law to be used in family arbitration.

Nine years ago, in late 2003, the head of the Islamic Institute of Civil Justice (IICJ) Syed Mumtaz Ali held a press conference announcing it was offering arbitration services in family disputes in accordance with Sharia (Islamic law) and the province of Ontario’s 1991 Arbitration Act.

An explosive international public debate followed. At its starkest, the debate portrayed the issue as one in which Canadian Muslims, guided by international Islamic fundamentalists, sought to create a parallel legal justice system, which, opponents feared, would weaken the rights of Muslim women and the functioning of the liberal democratic state. Our volume, Debating Sharia, delves more deeply into issues surrounding the debate. In particular contributors note how:

•    The debate ignored key aspects of the everyday reality of living a Muslim life in a Western country. Muslims in Ontario sought mediation but not arbitration. Furthermore, it’s primarily Muslim women who turn to imams and other religious authorities to grant them a religious divorce. These religious authorities tend to clearly distinguish between religious and civil divorce.

•    Despite a focus on Muslim women’s rights, public discourse failed to appreciate the gendered implications of arbitrating family affairs, whether according to Western legal practice or Islamic jurisprudence. Arbitration in heterosexual relationships assumes both parties enter negotiations from a similar position of power. However, they do so rarely.  The debate did not lead to a meaningful discussion of the ways in which family law arbitration reproduces gendered power dynamics. In addition, it did not acknowledge the ongoing development of Islamic jurisprudence in the context of family law, where contemporary scholars have made significant strides to address issues of power.

•    Fear of Islamists infused this public debate, painting Muslims in broad brushstrokes as threatening the achievements of liberal democracy, including the purported attainment of gender equality.  This racialized Ontario’s diverse Muslim communities, stifling discussions within them and limiting the discursive space for meaningful debate more generally.

•    The debate falsely positioned a support for women’s rights as being tantamount to a full rejection of religiosity.

Following the international public outcry at the notion of ‘Sharia courts,’ Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty sought advice from Attorney General Michael Bryant and Sandra Pupatello, the Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues. As public pressure escalated, in June 2004, Bryant and Pupatello appointed former Attorney General Marion Boyd to conduct a formal six-month review of the use of arbitration in family and inheritance law in the province. In December 2004, she presented forty-six recommendations in a 191-page report.

Contrary to the vehement concerns expressed at Queen’s Park, in letters to the editor and through social media, Boyd concluded that binding religious arbitration of family law issues based on ‘Islamic legal principles’ was permissible according to the 1991 Arbitration Act. She also expressed concern for the protection of individual rights, and proposed amendments to the Arbitration Act to address concerns about gender inequality and the training and accountability of arbitrators.

However, McGuinty decreed that he would not allow his province to become the first Western government to allow the use of Islamic law to settle family disputes, and that the boundaries between church and state would be clearer if religious arbitration was banned completely. He concluded, ‘There will be no Shariah law in Ontario. There will be no religious arbitration in Ontario. There will be one law for all Ontarians’.

The promise of ‘one law for all’ was a cynical appeal to a common legal ground: the new law did not actually create real change.  Extensive interviews conducted by Julie Macfarlane and Christopher Cutting (in two different research projects) show that the debate’s premise was erroneous: religiously based family law arbitration was not something that Canadian Muslims engaged in or that Muslim Arbitration Boards conducted. So the IICJ announcement did not have an audience. Furthermore, Islamically informed mediation practices mostly benefitted Muslim women.

At the same time, the Sharia debate identified a number of problematic gender issues related to Islam: namely, the power disparities in talaq (unilateral male-initiated divorce) and the insufficient response by some imams to domestic violence. And insofar as Macfarlane and Cutting both suggest that concerns around domestic violence are not always fully acknowledged, by creating the false security that ‘there will be no religious law in Ontario’, McGuinty contributed to leaving this issue out of the public eye.

The revised Arbitration Act does not do what McGuinty promised; it still allows for adjudication based on religious principles – they just cannot be mentioned explicitly in the ruling.  These rulings have to fall within the scope of the Canadian legal framework but that was always the intent of the IICJ.

Most problematically, the Sharia debate underscored insufficiencies in the legal practice of private arbitration by showing how gendered power inequalities can inform private ordering in ways that go unchecked.

Sharia debates are not unique to Canada. Many Western immigrant-receiving countries include religiously and ethnically diverse Muslim populations and are negotiating the legal and social implications of Sharia.

Take, for instance, the high-profile discussion that took place in 2008 when the Archbishop of Canterbury claimed that Sharia could, and perhaps should, be accommodated in British law making. His comments, as well as subsequent reports by a conservative British think tank that eighty-five Sharia Councils were deciding various legal matters in Britain, resulted in an uproar with clear parallels to the Canadian debate. There are similar debates taking place in the United States.

The issue of gender inequality raised in Ontario appears to influence a great number of debates about the role of Islam in the West. Ongoing headscarf debates (and more recently, anti-niqab and burqa legislation) in a number of Western European countries including France, Switzerland, Belgium, Spain, and the Netherlands can similarly be interpreted as conflicts over religious accommodation in the context of particular ideas about secularism and gender equality.

The Sharia Debate became so impassioned because it touched on a number of changes in Canadian society since the 1960s like the questioning of multiculturalism; a significant increase in religious diversity in the country’s urban centres; growing rights accorded to women; and most recently, securitization and Islamophobia following 11 September 2001.

It matters today because faith-based arbitration continues to be possible within the Ontario privatized system. Religion can inform an arbitrator’s rulings, so long as the texts of final rulings use the language of Canadian law.

Little has been done to address the real gender disparities to which any arbitration process might give rise.  The very idea of ‘one law for all’ used to justify abolishing all faith-based arbitration at the close of the debate in 2006 is false. Couples habitually contract out of the default provisions of the Family Law Act, privatizing contracts regarding family matters and placing them outside of state oversight.
Yet, while some, such as Marion Boyd, tried to insert a thoughtful voice into the debate, most, including Dalton McGuinty, dropped the ball. Not only did they debate based on false premises, but their pronouncements did little to further the participation of Muslim Canadians in the public sphere.

To read more about the debate, please see Debating Sharia: Islam, Gender Politics, and Family Law Arbitration (eds. Anna C. Korteweg & Jennifer A. Selby, University of Toronto Press, 2012).

Thoughts on the “All Our Sisters” National Conference

After the very successful “All Our Sisters” National Conference on Women and Homelessness, which was held May 9-12 in London, Ontario, author Susan Scott provided us with these thoughts on the event.

A few weeks ago I opened a fortune cookie to read the following mini homily: “Be patient; in time even an egg will walk.” It didn’t make much sense, but after the recent “All Our Sisters” National Conference on Women and Homelessness I’m beginning to get it.

When I wrote the book All Our Sisters: Stories of Homeless Women in Canada, I really hoped there would be instant changes not only in Canada’s shelters, but also more importantly in our social system so that women and children wouldn’t become homeless in the first place. Too many fairy stories involving magic wands had obviously passed under my eyes as a child.

However, after meeting a group of women in London, Ontario, I began to realize that small changes can happen. To my delight and amazement, they started to organize Canada’s first homeless conference with a gendered lens and, better yet, women of experience were to be given an important voice. The opening speaker wasn’t a VIP, but rather a panel of five such women ranging geographically from British Columbia to New Brunswick via the Northwest Territories and Ontario—the true experts. It was the beginning of a shortage of Kleenex supplies.

One of these women explained how she and her friends had started a women’s centre and continue to run it without any government grants. The next day, Buffy Sainte-Marie echoed this sentiment telling 500 applauding women, “If it’s not on the menu, go cook it yourself!”

Academics and service providers also had their say, but it was the voices of experience that rang out loudly and memorably. The women told us that they aren’t heard in shelters, in the courts and at social services, and that they are treated like wilful, stupid children. “When you run out of money, you run out of your voice,” said Colette Smithers of Calgary in an interview a few days later.

“I learned that the world I wanted and know can exist does exist; we built it within the four walls of the convention centre,” said Katherine Brock, one of the younger presenters reflecting on the achievements of the three days. “We created a safe space for women that was without class distinctions and welcomed all emotions and experiences.”

“I also learned that I have a family of women now that I can always remember when I feel displaced in this unjust world,” she added.

To anyone with a voice to hear, the women’s stories repeatedly illustrated how the system fails women by expecting them to jump through hoops that they don’t know are being waved above their heads; by giving them just enough help to hold them down, not to lift them up; blaming and shaming them; and not recognizing and treating the trauma, which My Sisters’ Place in London says affects 100 per cent of the women who use its services.

But don’t be fooled: this was not a pity party.

This event was a celebration of all women and it was also a chance to identify the changes that need to occur. At least a couple of cities said they would like to hold the next conference in three years. At an individual level I think we all went home pumped to work toward a better future. “Shyness was never a problem for me,” says Colette Smithers. “I intend to be more of a thorn in people’s sides.”

As for that fortune cookie egg, I suddenly see a monster crack in its shell and I’m waiting in awe to see what beautiful bird will emerge.