Dignitaries had been gathering at the French Embassy in Ottawa for an hour. Wine was flowing. Hors d’oeuvres fast disappearing. And finally, an assistant to the ambassador announced that His Excellency was in the hall. The din dissipated and our attention was directed to a mezzanine level where a woman dressed in red, white and blue began to sing.
“O Caa-naa-daa,” she began in elongated, almost dirge-like tones.
“Oh no,” I thought. “This is going to be another of those interminable renditions of our national anthem.”