Calvin Hobbes: Right, so… Mr. Macondald. Sir. Shall I call you Sir? Are you a knight, sir?
Sir John A. Macdonald: Indeed I am. I was knighted many moons ago. And its Macdonald, not Macondald… nice start to our interview young man…
CH: Sorry about that, Sir Mr. Macdonald, sir. It’s difficult to type on a speeding train. Well. Here we are, practically home in Kingston after a whirlwind voyage to Halifax and back on VIA Rail’s majestic Ocean train. It’s all such a blur. Especially last night! What time was it we left the observation car?
SJAM: Well, I think I left you dancing in your breeches around two o’clock in the morning. But I retired to my chambers earlier than that for a night cap. I didn’t see you at breakfast this morning. What did you get up to? Were you searching out a scandal, or out to create your own?!
CH: Well you see, the thing is [censored] on the [censored] until about [censored] and those blokes from Montreal with the [censored] so as you can imagine I [censored] I will never forget it! Oy, what do you reckon was the most enjoyable part of travelling by train, sir?
SJAM: I had a great time riding the rails once again. There’s a certain amount of pride you take in knowing that you helped to make them stretch from end to end of this country. There’s no better way than taking a trip on them to realize that your dream has been carried. I also took a special privilege in going to the gravesite of my dear departed friend, the Right Honourable Sir Charles Tupper while in Halifax.
CH: I felt like a proper celebrity sir, riding with you to the gravesite in that fancy car. Fancy cars, signing autographs, kissing babies… you really are a man about town. I must ask, what trouble did you get up to in Halifax? My goodness that city is jumping on a Saturday night!
SJAM: Well, it used to be fancy carriages, and signing with ink pots, but its true that I’ve been kissing babies since 1867. As far as me being a man about town though…
At first I thought I would enjoy the sights and head immediately to the brewery across from where I was staying. But alas, my room was far too exquisite. Did you know that in this day and age water comes from taps! I spent nearly half an hour trying to figure the thing out. And then the shower! I wasted a lot of time in there to say that least. But I did make it out for a drink. I suppose the only trouble was when I saw Joe Howe across the street, he called me a scoundrel and I said, “Sorry, I can’t hear you! I don’t listen to scoundrels.”
CH: You called me a scoundrel just yesterday!
SJAM: Sorry what was that, I couldn’t hear you?
CH: Right. I’m through with the niceties. Tell me the truth about the other time you visited the east coast… Did you or did you not show up UNINVITED and sabotage the 1864 Charlottetown Conference?
SJAM: Sabotage the conference? Not at all. Sabotage the maritime union they were going after, yes, definitely. We did it in a big way though, and not at all underhandedly. In fact, it was rather overt! When we got to the conference, we didn’t really let anyone else speak. And rather than a maritime union, we began the basis for a greater union, something we were willing to call a confederation.
CH: Boring. Let’s talk about the sleeper cabins on the train!
SJAM: Oh! I made a little fort in mine, did you as well?
CH: I did! I called it Fort Hungry, because that’s what I was because I slept through breakfast both mornings.
SJAM: I called mine Canada. The top bunk was Upper Canada. You get the joke.
CH: Rep-by-bunk. Look, Sir John. I’ve promised the VIA Rail passengers and staff and all my readers a seething exposé. Can you at least share a few secrets from your time aboard the Ocean? Why don’t we take turns? I’ll go first: I peeked inside one of the super fancy private rooms near the back of the train, even though a sign said not to. Your turn!
SJAM: I found an empty cracker bag in my luggage.
SJAM: Well, I don’t eat crackers! I also saw a pair of moonlight lovers up in the observation dome kissing away. It was very romantic, but also very scandalous!
CH: Now we’re talking! So you’re alleging that someone (perhaps a Premium Plus representative?) broke into your bag. And you’re admitting to voyeurism. Brilliant! Wait. You don’t eat crackers?
SJAM: Not in tiny little plastic packaging, I’m environmentally friendly. And besides, by the time I get the two little things out of the bag I’ve usually made a nice mess. Besides I’ve only ever got enough room in my bag for my shirt, socks and scandals.
CH: Didn’t take you for a Socks and Scandals guy, Sir John.