November 11

My husband's grandfather fought in World War II. He lied about his age to sign up, he was one of very few of his platoon to survive, and when he got back, his father walked past him on the street without recognizing him.
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The first time my husband took me to his grandparents' home town to meet them, Grandpa started telling war stories. Some of them were funny. Some of them were horrifying. He showed us a shaving brush with a handle deformed by a piece of shrapnel -- this happened while he was actually shaving with it. I thought this was just what they did when Matt visited, but after we went to bed Matt said this was the first time he'd heard any of these stories.

Since I was introduced to him as Allison McCaskill, Grandpa figured it was safe to tell me stories about the wacky Polish regiments he ran in to. I finally decided I should probably let him know my mother's maiden name. He toned the stories down, but not by much.

A few times we've gone to Smiths Falls to take Nana and Grandpa to the Remembrance Day dinner at the Legion. Apart from one tricky incident involving too many double scotches and some heckling of the peacekeepers, I love being able to do this. This year we can't go because Matt has visitors at work that are keeping him there late and I don't have anyone to watch the kids, and it's too late to take them especially when they're both just recovering from being sick. I feel bad that we can't go. He deserves his night to dress in his uniform and be honoured and drink too much scotch. They all do.


Anonymous said…
It's too bad that Matt's grandfather wasn't able to go tonight. Although I would have made the same decision as you did.

I remember the visits to the Legion Hall on Remembrance Day being so important to my own grandfather. I can understand why - they've been through something so few of us can imagine, especially in this time and place. Being amongst friends means so much.

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