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.  

36 comments:

  1. I am laughing so hard right now, Tom. I had a feeling and the only reason why I had a feeling was that every year at our grade school the WWI (until the last left us) and WWII vets came to visit the children. You nailed this perfectly. So fun!

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    1. Wow! You commented faster than I was able to link up! I'm impressed! Thanks for seeing the humour in this guy's profanity. :)

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  2. smirk . . . I think I know this guy . . . or several like him. :) Hope you didn't get in trouble for snickering.

    And how are "our" students and their writing these days?

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  3. Actually, our students are not that good a the moment. Several things are going on: first of all, Spring has sprung and the hormones are going so, their minds are not as academically-oriented as they were in the heart of Winter. Secondly, as we head into the final term ( and into the last stretch before standardized testing happens for the Grade 6s), there is lots of other curriculm to cover. So the kids have not been afforded too much time to write creatively lately. Their writing, of late, has been persuasive writing. In a perfect world, classrooms would be cauldrons of creativity but, politics is everywhere; especially in public school systems. Hopefully, before the end of the school year in June, someone will pop back up with a cool story to share but, for now, love and exams are in the way.

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  4. Ha! I love that he said this to a bunch of kids!

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    1. All those folks have earned the right not to censor their thoughts, I suppose. Like I said, these old vets are always wild cards. :)

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    1. You're welcome, Ted. Thanks for popping on by.

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  6. Aww bless his honesty and bless your portrayal for the prompt. We do reach an age where we have certain liberties without feeling that we may offend I am NOT 92 but at almost 57 - yay to me and those who aren't ashamed for speaking their mind!

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  7. Absolutely! That's why this memory always brings a smile to my face. Thanks for sharing, you young whippersnapper, you! :)

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  8. I can totally see you snickering in a corner like some rebellious student at the back of the class who finds a dirty joke in a teacher's choice of words! xD What a delightful little story, Tom!

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    1. Some people are the creators of stories, such as you, Draug. Perhaps, I am more of a story teller? Who knows? All that I know is that I enjoy telling this one and am glad I could fit it into a Trifextra challenge format. Glad you liked it. :)

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  9. Older people and kids, you never know what is going to come out of their mouths, sometimes it is a gem like this one.

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  10. Tell me about it!!! :) I don't often hear profanity from the kids but, the things they do tell me about their mothers and fathers would make you blush. If parents knew even half of the things that their children tell their teachers about them then, they would never let their kids leave the house! :)
    THanks for stopping by. I appreciate your comments.

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  11. I'm an Army vet. Any time we'd have any sort of event the old-timers would show up. They're an absolute riot. It's a shame the greatest generation is almost gone. I fear society will never see the likes of that lot again.

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    1. I'm sure they spoke a little more freely in your company than in ours but, just the same, we all enjoyed his presentation and will remember his stories forever. It is important to have the kids exposed to folks who risk their lives for a cause greater than themselves.....even if the odd unscripted comment rolls out along the way. :)

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  12. I love this story. I'm sure the kids saw your laugh. Must have be hard for you to recover. Hysterical.

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    1. It's funny that you say that because I have a definite recollection of laughing right out loud so, I'm sure most kids were aware of my reaction. However, because we teachers are control freaks, I remember my immediate reaction to my own reaction was to quickly ensure that the kids weren't going to lose it and become unruly and disrespectful toward this man. We all had a better laugh in the staff room afterwards.

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    1. Thanks Euan! I appreciate that you took the time to leave a comment for me. :)

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  14. He earned his right to speak freely.

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    1. Absolutely! I said the same thing a few comments prior to this one. Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your comment.

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  15. I spent a month on Crete in mid 70s. Your writing bringing back memories. That beautiful sea.

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  16. Never been but, one day, I would love to go to that part of the world. It looks gorgeous in the photos I've seen. Thanks for taking the time to leave me your comments. I appreciate it a lot. :)

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  17. How very cool!Loved the feel of this one Tom:-)All the best to your kids for their oncoming exams!

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  18. Terrific post, Tom. And the Mediterranean is the bluest blue.

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    1. I have no reason to doubt you or the old vet. Hopefully, one day I will get there myself. :)

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  19. Ah, to be old and wise enough to remember the beauty instead of the war. Beautifully done!

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  20. I'm just the platform through which these people speak. All thanks go to them. But, I thank you, just the same! :)

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    1. That makes me happy. Thanks for your response. I appreciate it.

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  22. oh, the freedom of being 92. It hasn't been too long ago since I witnessed an octogenarian or beyond relieve himself at the courthouse - in a potted tree outside the courtroom door. (The restroom was at the far opposite end of the hall & after seeing the effort it took for him to make it to "the pot," even court officers couldn't have easily disputed the decision.)

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    1. We could easily start trading gross out stories but, decorum prevents such a descent into the muck. In any case, thanks for popping by and sharing your story. :)

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