Sunday, 19 June 2011

Fathers' Day

Many moons ago, when I was a truculent teenager, my dad would tell me stuff. It would go in one ear and out the other. I see the same glazed expression in my own children when I tell them stuff. Yeah, yeah, yadda, yadda, what does he know anyway?

Of course, I'm bound to say this but I do wish I'd listened a bit more closely or asked more questions. Thinking back, he gave us some fascinating snippets of the past and he's no longer with us otherwise I'd be recording, noting down, questioning, trying to get a fuller picture.

One story he told was of his dad, my grandfather who fought in the first world war. We always think of northern europe as the main theatre of war for that time but my grandfather was shipped off to fight in the Lebanon against the forces of the Ottoman Empire who had aligned themselves with Austria Hungary. It was another world.

In one battle, so I'm told, a shell flew over from the enemy lines, exploding close to my grandfather. the blast threw him high into the air along with tons of sand. when it all settled, my father had landed miraculously unharmed but buried up to his neck. He could see the Turkish line advancing but couldn't move because of the weight of the sand. It's a great image. His friends rescued him.

Sadly, his luck ran out when he rescued a wounded comrade but was shot in the legs and had to have them amputated. He never recovered by all accounts. He returned home and died some four years later.

But there are lots of little stories that my dad told us and I didn't really listen fully. My brothers and sister will have different versions of these tales, slightly varied, slightly modified.

So whatever you think of Father's Day (and I confess to being a big fan: chocky and a cup of tea in bed won me over) take some time out to listen to the stories your fathers tell you. there could be a story in there somewhere and you'll be glad you did one day!