I do admire the WWII generation. In general they seem to be made of sterner stuff than generations since. This was brought home once again last summer when we were in England to celebrate my father's 80th birthday. On the day of the party guests, most considerably older than him, arrived from far and wide, beetling along the narrow country roads in their cars. It was tipping down with rain and they had to park in a field next to the house. My finely tuned suburban instincts at the ready, I waited outside with an umbrella with the intention of offering a 'valet' parking service so people wouldn't have to walk down the slippery slope from the field. No one wanted my help. So I resorted to standing by the slope ready to offer a helping hand to anybody who needed it. No one did. At last I spotted a likely mark getting out of a car - an elderly woman with a cast on her leg. I casually fell in beside her as she started walking, with my arm poised to intercept if needed. After a few yards, by way of conversation, I asked her how she'd broken her leg, assuming that she would have slipped while pottering about the house or tending her roses. Without breaking her stride, she responded stridently, 'bl**dy horse kicked me' and marched determinedly on!
This article is from the June 1, 2005 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.
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