Friday, May 06, 2005

Alf's war...

" I lay there in this forest just inside Germany my arm hanging useless, my CO dead, my mate Mickey Green moaning - we'd been ambushed and cut down...then I see him looking into my eyes - his blue eyes... I thought that it was over for me...please ... not a bayonet...!"

I had lunch with Alf today in our luncheon club and I was riveted. This was real band of brothers stuff.

"...there was nothing I could do so I pulled a grenade pulled the pin with my teeth and he knew - he ran... I threw the grenade as far as I could and waited. Must've passed out next thing I know I was on my way to a field hospital in the back of a British truck."

Alf doesn't often talk about the war - each time he does we hear a bit more of the jigsaw of savagery he endured, a bit more of the brokenness and pain within becomes visible. Alf -mostly full of joy his creased face a myriad of smiling lines deep down he is still getting over it. Deep down he still feels the pain of loss and regret. Deep down still broken

"...are you religious" he asks.

"Alf my faith is important to me but I'm not religious about it.." my clever little answer is put in its place.

"You know what Gord? I learnt to pray in those days...."

The tea arrives and the mood switches and we're back to talking sport. The moment is gone. For now.

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