Saturday, March 23, 2013

Paradise?

This weekend's Trifextra challenge was to add another 33 words to the trio of words, "rain", "remember" and "rebellion".

Over the course of a school year, there are many times when we arrange for special guest presenters to appear before our students.  Most of these presenters appear regularly at schools and know their audience intimately. For example, travelling theatre groups, musicians, authors, artists, etc.   We, as staff, never have reason for concern whenever any of these types of folks are booked.  But, there is one group that we feel compelled to invite that do give us pause for thought and they are the members of our Armed Forces that appear on the Canadian holiday known as Remembrance Day.

We book our guest speakers for Remembrance Day through a government agency so we have no control over who shows up.  All we are told is if our request for a speaker was granted and the name of the soldier.  If we get a current member of the Armed Forces then we relax because they are still imbued with the strict sense of discipline that most active soldiers demonstrate.  However, we get World War II veterans just as often as current soldiers and, let me tell you, these old guys are complete wild cards.  Once they finish their formal presentation and start speaking off-the-cuff, they are liable to say almost anything which for us, as teachers, makes their appearance anxiety-inducing but, at the same time, kind of exhilarating, too.

So, with all due respect to all of the wonderful folks over the years who have delivered messages to my students about bullying, personal health care, imagination and creativity and so on.....I, now, present to all of my Trifecta buds and pals, the most memorable words every spoken by a guest presenter in a school setting during my career...............

This veteran of World War II was 92 when he spoke.  During the Q & A session that followed, a young boy asked him if it was difficult being in combat where he was for most of the War.  This was the veteran's considered response:



Was it difficult?........

I remember being stationed on the coast of Greece.   
The Mediterranean was the bluest blue. 
The women were unbelievably beautiful! 
The wine flowed like rain.

That wasn't rebellion, son
That was fucking Paradise!


As soon as he mentioned women and wine, I thought, "Uh oh! Here we go!"   But, I have to admit to laughing out loud and then, quickly covering up, as the kids all looked to me and the other teachers to see how they should react. I will never forget that old guy!  Loved his spirit!

Note:   This would have been a direct, verbatim quote except, I substituted "rain" for "water" and "rebellion" for "War".  Other than that, this is exactly what he said to my students.