Somewhere along the way one of us
had the idea to record his stories,
there were many we had him tell again
so we would have them on the tape.
There is much to be told from a life spanning
most of the last century, so much that has
happened, so much changed. It was not
the world events that held our attention.
He told of seeing dirigibles over their fields,
a biplane with a torn wing landing on the dirt
road, siblings who never made it to adulthood,
the joy of one toy and fresh fruit at Christmas.
Tales included foreign things such as cabbage
soup and a father working out of town for months
on end, a school with no books and no attendance
requirement when the harvest came in.
We heard of radio programs listened
to by candlelight and homemade clothes
you would wash by hand, the fascination of a first car
and the miracle of electricity and plumbing inside a home.
He paused for a while when we asked about the war,
studied his hands, sat a little taller, before pinning
us with a look we had not seen before. I will tell you,
he said, because I think you should know,
about what it is like to go to war. But, first, turn that
thing off. There are memories I do not wish recorded.
We obeyed, of course, and listened with rapt attention
to every word, felt every fear and shared every shed tear.
Each of us wrote down all we could remember
and later compared our notes,
because there are some things unrecorded
which should never be forgotten.
for the image prompt at Magpie Tales