Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Answering the Call: For God and Country

Eighteen. Just finished high school. A time when a pretty young girl’s head is embroidered with visions of sugar plums, thoughts of an endless future, a lacy wedding dress, a fine young husband, and a wee house with a white picket fence. And later, the pitter patter of little feet and delicious gales of laughter in a home filled with joy, with pies on the windowsill and the aroma of fresh baked bread wafting about. Instead, all she had taken for granted was forfeited. Selflessly forfeited. And she boarded a train for the west coast, watching the apple orchards whizzing by to the rhythm of the metal wheels on the tracks. It was 1944. Food was rationed. Nothing was to be wasted. All must be sacrificed for the war effort. She’d already see many of the boys from school return home, injured, some of the wounds not visible to the naked eye. Where did she find the courage to say goodbye to all she had ever known? To fearlessly step into an uncharted future to fight to preserve the freedom that had always been a given in our nation? This small town girl was soon in the big city, with many young girls from all over Canada, undergoing the rigors of military training. No more leisurely afternoon teas at the old cafĂ© on Main Street. No trips to the swimming hole on a lazy hot summer afternoon with sandwiches and lemonade in a sack. No weekend dances at the church hall. She was now one of a troop of young women, marching in perfect cadence, their faces steely with resolve. She would never go back home to the idyllic Okanagan valley, her life leading her in a totally different direction. She made a difference. This shy and gentle Christian girl, found within herself the mettle to do what had to be done. She forged ahead and never looked back. She went on to accomplish many good. things in her life. Her faith in God and her values and ethics served her well all through life to this very day. She’s here every Sunday, just over there in the background. More than seventy years later, she is still that shy and gentle soul. When she greets you, the kindness and compassion emanate from within. She instinctively knows when you need some caring words, or a gentle hug. She has always known what needs doing. And today, she sits in a pew, quietly remembering. Anonymous