Are you wearing a red poppy today? I am.

Here’s my granddad, Norman, and me when I was a baby. I loved to feed his pigs with him.

 

feeding the pigs : www.theMagicOniosn.com

 

He was a prisoner of war in WW2… for FOUR years. I think of him and my other granddad, North Wells, who also fought in WW2, on Veterans Day.

 

I often think of the countless times both of them could have died and how all of this that I have now, all of these beautiful moments I’ve had the joy of having, wouldn’t have been at all.

 

I’ve written about Norman’s amazing survival story here.

 

Two things more I’ve gleaned over the years. Norman was a prize mole-catcher in the prison camp. He would wait patiently for the mole to emerge from his hole. Sometimes for hours, sometimes for days. And when the mole did poke out his head, Norman would pounce on him like a cat. The other prisoners would cheer quietly as Norman stuffed his prize catch into his pocket, knowing that their meal that night would include a little protein that was sure to keep them all alive just a little bit longer.

 

Towards the end of his internment, Norman had the good fortune of being chosen to drive the Commandant’s car as a chauffeur. The Commandant acquired a new Bently car and, as Norman’s dad back in the UK owned a Bently too, Norman convinced the Commandant that he was a Bently expert. This good fortune gave Norman the hope he needed to carry on in the worst of circumstances as he, at last, felt like he could contribute to the war effort, even while being a prisoner of war. His contribution was to make the Commandant just-a-little-bit-late for each and every appointment. Just-a-little-bit-frustrated, just-a-little-bit-defeated.

 

Norman seldom talked about his years as a prisoner of war but when he did, he told these two stories with pride.

 

So, in so many ways, thank you to all those brave people who fought and died so that I could be right in this very place at this very moment. My gratitude transcends time and space and touches you, wherever you are.

 

Blessings and magic,
Donni

 

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