Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The 11th Hour...

Poppy Day...

The 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month of each year... little changes, except the faces... they age. But they know so much about things we can't imagine... and we should be thankful that they do. For their knowing, perhaps we don't need to... but we should...

An older veteran was sitting by Lynnda and me near the Cenotaph here in Niagara-on-the-Lake... he was remembering something, his eyes closed, his lips trembling... Lynnda noticed a young punk near-by mimicking him and joking with friends about it; she walked over and told him to have more respect... I sense he got the message, since she was in his face. I thought, some don't want to learn... in fact, they don't know what they don't know... and ignorance is bliss.

Tears ran down my face when the choir sang Abide with Me... and two young girls read the poem... In Flanders Fields... it goes like this...

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

By: Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, MD (1872-1918)
Canadian Army

One should look at that date, and wonder what Dr. McCrae was thinking as he passed on...

"If ye break faith with us who die We shall not sleep"

I fear we have, and so I weep...

Boom, the first concussion seemed very loud. I have heard that sound before, I thought… in Ohio, Wisconsin, Nova Scotia… it is the first of November, so the deer hunting season is upon us. Relax…

Bang, bang…there was the noise, again! It seemed closer! Now my mind started moving a little faster through my memory banks… fairly close, several shots in succession… either the hunter is a poor shot, or there are several deer… or someone is killing people… what now?

Boom, bang and more concussions… in fact, in the minutes after I had waken there seemed to be a non-stop series of shots… an attack; they were coming from all around us… have we bought a home near a military firing-range; it isn’t deer hunting, it is duck season… and it would continue unabated for the day, only to die off near night-fall.

All the while, we opened boxes, wondering what the noise was that seemed to be everywhere in this village. Since we seemed totally safe, we reconsidered our testimony. Since its a historic place we have chosen to relocate to, perhaps there are military re-enactments… I will check in the morning…we are safe now, the shooting has stopped.

We decided to have our first dinner in Niagara-on-the-Lake in a quaint restaurant in Old Town. After dinner, we ordered some late-harvest wine for which the Niagara Region is famous. As we sipped our wine, we enquired about the shooting…

With a knowing smile, the answer came back that without the booms and bangs, we couldn’t be drinking our late-harvest or ice-vine wine… the noise was all about scaring off the starlings that would be trying to eat the grapes as they sweeten. There were no shots at all!


My photo

Grad. Saint Mary's University, 1975, got into the medical device business initially in sales, then various management positions up to president, all in Medical Devices. I prefer therapy products over diagnostic, but they are all fun, and in a way have defined my life. I have now evolved, with help from my 35 year partner Lynnda with whom I now share every hour. I am into staying healthy, photography, kayaking, bicycling, gardening and two books a week. I wish I had gotten to this stage earlier!