Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Remembrance Day

I grew up surrounded by veterans. Across the street and down the road, stood the dreamy houses that seemingly kept watch on those sometimes lonely walks home from school. Behind those curtained windows: what stories lay hidden? Perhaps, the block of housing was enchanted and locked in a time lapse. Was it still the 1940s up and down those stairs? Or did they dwell even further down into the past? What memories took hold and lingered into the living? Who were those folks? What did they see? What did they know? These were the questions my brother and I often had while walking past the line of housing for retired members of the Legion on the street opposite.

My internal directory of early memories (happily situated in the 1970s/80s) retrieves lovely encounters in the corner shop, along the side of the road and most importantly at the traffic light which joined our sides of the street (and offered a precious few more seconds of interaction than purchasing a loaf of bread ever did). Well dressed and polite, many gentle yet aged hands bent down to shake little brown fingers. Some were veterans of WWII, and a precious few were from WWI. There was such honor and joy in those meetings: the twinkle in some of their eyes and oh those smiles. They looked at us in wonder, as we did them.

That's what I'll always remember.

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