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22.03.2015

Unsung Hero (Part 2)

"I didn't have a bad time during the war, you know," Granddad began; invariably the beginning of a story about his time at the French border. The Swiss soldiers were standing guard, sometimes chatting with French peasants, buying their Absinth. Sometimes even exchanging a word with German soldiers as they passed on their rounds.

"Not all of them were Nazis," Granddad would say. "We used to share the odd cigarette and story through the fence. But there was one, a Corporal, who was such an asshole. Trimmed his hair and moustache like the Führer."

Grandmother stopped knitting for a second, tut-tutted at Granddad's choice of words. Then she resumed her work and Granddad his story.
It was a chilly morning. The Germans sat in their guard house. Smoke was rising from a thin chimney. The tinny voice of a popular German singer echoed across the border. Granddad's friend Hans visited him at the post and brought a loaf of freshly made bread. In those times, it was forbidden to sell fresh bread. It came into the shops on the second day because you eat less bread if it's stale.

Granddad described the red and white chequered tea towel in which Hans had wrapped the bread, the spreading aroma when he opened his bundle. Like all lads of twenty, Granddad was always hungry. But he was also wary.

"Where did you get that bread?"



(To be continued)

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