Stories at Six Feet

Posted: April 18, 2020 in Uncategorized

And now for the first installment of … Stories at Six Feet (stories shared and received at the minimum physical margin):

Today we walked the KATY trail amid soft sunshine and a gentle breeze, the river flowing like it didn’t have a problem in the world, which of course it doesn’t. We met friends on a similar walk and started swapping stories. His was much more interesting.

When he was a little boy he lived in England and was about six years old as the 2nd World War drew to a close. It was Christmas eve and the family was gathered in the living room making merry. They were surprised by a knock at the door. When they opened the door they looked out upon an American soldier who had just pulled up in a jeep. He was holding a gas can. The soldier asked if they knew where he could get some petrol. The young man’s father said that they could go down the way about two blocks because there was a station on the corner. “It’s closed now,” said his father, “but if you knock on the door the owner is a good man and he’ll open up and fill your can.”

Just before the soldier went back to the jeep he pointed to a German officer sitting in the jeep and asked, “Could you please watch over him while I get the gas? He’s in custody.”

The parents looked at each other for a moment and then his mother said, “Well, of course, he can stay with us while you are running your errand. Invite him in.” And he did come in. The German soldier looked on as the family decorated for Christmas, putting out presents and preparing the Christmas treats.

When it came time to light the candles on the tree they invited the German officer to help light them and he did.

“Mind you, I was just six years old, but I have this memory of lighting the candles on the tree and this German soldier in his full dress uniform bending down and lighting the bottom tier of candles, smiling as he did so.”

Pretty soon the GI returned with his jeep, mission accomplished, gas in the tank.

“When it was time for the German officer to leave,” my senior friend continued, “he opened the door, turned to face us, clicked his boot heels together, and tipped the bill of his hat in a quick bow. We watched him drive away into the snowy night and after shutting the door we sang Christmas carols.”


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