I like the scent of Princeton, New Jersey and sunset on the golf course behind Forbes. I like the bustle on Nassau Street and the uterine warmth of the Terrace TV room. I like the Dinky’s whistle and the Sunday morning sound of the Grad Tower bell calling the faithful to worship. I like the view of the Montreal skyline from the mighty St. Lawrence. I like the cobblestoned streets of Old Montreal and the wooded slopes of Mont Royal and the brilliant copper dome of St. Joseph’s Oratory at night. I like the bars on Crescent Street and the nightclubs on The Main and the backyards of Notre-Dame-de-Grace and the porches of the Plateau and the cafes on St. Denis. I like the rolling hills of the Cimitiere Notre-Dame-des-Neiges and the monuments to the great Montrealers buried therein and the eerie peace I feel when visiting my father’s grave.
I like the taste of shish taouk and beaver tails and $1.99 spaghetti bowls from Peel Pub and dark honey beers from Brutopia and ribeyes from L’Entrecote St. Jean. I like rum and Coke and flaming Dr. Peppers and Crown Royal and Southern Comfort and smooth shots of Appleton rum. I like the saintly smells that come out of my mother’s kitchen. I like meditations at the Unity Church of Montreal and parang at Christmastime and steelband practices in dingy uptown duplexes and Jump-Up every summertime. I like canoeing on a quiet lake outside Ottawa and bake-and-shark on a Trini beach and grinding with a bevy of beauties at a soca jam on a boat on Lake Ontario. I like politics and history and moral philosophy. I like the courage of the warriors thanks to whom ordinary people sleep in peace. I like reading Supreme Court decisions and selecting tunes in the Terrace taproom. I like twangy Canadian French and honeyed Southern drawls and sweet Spanish voices and the beguiling lilt of Trinidadian women. I like nappy hair and Latin eyes and Mediterranean noses and African lips and fiercely sun-kissed skin. I like historical fiction and crime dramas and the charisma of a good movie villain. I like blaxploitation soundtracks and Prince’s ballads and I-Wayne’s grooves and David Rudder’s classics and patriotic anthems and the Battle Hymn of the Republic. I like big, boisterous families and the sound of a newborn’s cries, the sound of life’s longing for itself. I like individual liberty and personal responsibility and closing the gap between the way things are and the way they ought to be. I like the honor of a man and the strength of a woman. I like my threads, my rust-red ‘fro, my voice, my wit, my charm, and my sass. I love my Creator, my family, my hometown and my University. I love the land of my people, the land of my birth and the land of the free and the home of the brave. I love freedom, honor, faith, family and truth. I love life and I thank God for everything and apologize for nothing.