Going through the morning mail, I see a letter with a familiar logo. I call Benton over to see it.


"Look, Benneeshore. RCMP. You know these people?"


It is only to tease him; he doesn't know anybody in this deparmtent of course. But we both enjoy just looking at the logo from home. I always call him over when we hear from the Canadian federal government too, and we both sigh at the sight of the Canadian flag on the letterhead.


"You're going home next week, Marilyn."   As if he had to remind me. "I've got a little list, if you don't mind bringing back . . .  "


"He's making a list, and checking it twice, " I sing. He resists looking at the ceiling, out of respect, but he does sigh. Nobody else in the office would know this song.


"And they'll none of them be missed," I change the song. He can no longer resist looking at the ceiling. He hands me the list.


Nizar turns around out of curiousity. "What you will bring back for Benton?"  The question is neither rude nor interfering. When anybody goes home they bring back food from their own country for everyone to share. Nizar brings sweets from Lebanon. Boy, are they good. "There is maybe special Mountie candy?"


Maya looks up from her terminal. She brings fruit from Croatia. "What is this word: Mountie?"


Selin answers. She brings Turkish delight. "I know that. It is what Canadians call their police." She looks to us Canadians for confirmation. "Yes?"


Neva is Slovenian, but she is married to an American. She brings back diet-this or diet-that, in brands unavailable here, when she goes to her husband's family. "Not all the police," she announces authoritatively, "only those who work in the mountains."


My look to Benton says "Sic her," as if he were my trained dog. This he does, launching into the history of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.


I'm thinking more and more of home.

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