The Yarnspinners

News of anthologies by Kim Cox, Elizabeth Delisi, Chris Grover, Elaine Hopper, Maureen McMahon, and Sheryl Hames Torres--The Yarnspinners!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Finding something interesting to blog about can be beyond difficult. One of my fellow bloggers suggested I write about men’s buns—unfortunately, that subject can be dealt with in one short paragraph:

All men have buns. Some men have nice buns, and some men don't.

What else is there to say about them?

Someone else suggested I should write something uplifting. After a hard day’s work, I definitely need some uplifting myself, but what does “uplifting” mean exactly? According to my Family Word Finder the verb uplift means raise, elevate, advance, better, improve, refine, upgrade, cultivate, civilize, edify, inspire. And by way of an example the book says: Listening to the sermon should uplift your thoughts.

Most sermons I’ve heard are more depressing than uplifting, but since the flip side of depressing is happy, upbeat, and yes, uplifting, too, I started to think about what makes me feel happy+upbeat=uplifted, well…

My youngest kitty, Toby, has his basket on the extension of my desk, and when I turn in his direction, he smiles, reaches out for me with a paw, and it makes me feel great because I know I’m the most important person in his little world. And his big brother, Texas, sends me kisses by looking at me and crossing his paws. Those two always know how to make me feel good.

However, when it comes to humans that can be a whole different ballgame. Do nice things for friends and co-workers and all too often you’re repaid with a stab in the back—I’m not being cynical, just honest, it’s happened to me so many times it’s started to get boring. But do something for a total stranger and sometimes their appreciation can be overwhelming.

Back in the eighties, I was traveling in France with 3 girlfriends. We’d spent the day in Aigues-Morte, the Mediterranean port from whence the Crusaders set out on their travels to the Holy Land. To get back to Marseilles where we were staying, we needed to change trains in Avignon which is on the main line between Paris and Marseilles. As the train left the station and we settled ourselves in our compartment, we discovered the other two people in the compartment, a Dutch couple, had mistakenly boarded our southbound train, first stop Marseille, instead of the one going north to Paris that would take them home to Holland. For them it was the last straw in a vacation from hell—their trailer and car had been totaled in an accident in Spain, they didn’t speak a single word of French and now here they were, tired and stressed out, on the TGV, the French super express, traveling at 186 m.p.h. in the wrong direction

To say they were frantic is an understatement. The woman was so upset she fell down the steps when the train reached Marseille and was badly shaken up, while her husband looked to be on the verge of a heart attack. Fortunately, the husband spoke English and we all spoke French, and I knew the train they were supposed to be on wouldn’t even arrive in Marseille until after we got there, so things weren’t really as black as the couple believed. The four of us did our best to calm them down, and when we arrived in Marseille, we sent the husband off in search of an official to explain the problem, while we did what we could to comfort his wife with coffee and cognac.

The husband had no problem getting an official okay for himself and his wife to board the northbound train, but we could see they were still very shaken up, so we decided to stay with them and make sure there were no more mishaps. While we were waiting for their train, we got to talking about other things and in the course of the conversation the husband discovered we were Canadians. He stared at us for a moment, then his eyes filled with tears, and he said (I’ve forgotten the exact words), but something to the effect that he couldn’t believe how history was repeating itself--during WWII, Canadian soldiers had saved him and his family from being killed, and now all these years later, Canadians had again come to his rescue.

They didn’t tell us their names, and we didn’t tell them ours, but I guarantee they didn’t forget us anymore than we forgot them. And yes, it was a very uplifting experience. All four of us were so proud to know that by helping that couple we’d also helped to keep alive the memory of those brave Canadian soldiers who liberated Holland in 1944-5.



At 9:23 PM, August 29, 2006, Blogger Maureen McMahon said...

Chris, this is such a wonderful memoir! Thanks so much for giving me a chill of inspiration.

At 3:06 PM, August 30, 2006, Blogger Kim Cox said...

What a wonderful story, Chris. It brought tears of happiness to my eyes.


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