Today is Anzac Day in New Zealand – when we remember those who fought in wars.
Oh to think! A world famous group of sports men and women were visiting from another country. The host country wanted to give them a taste of the domestic home life in the host country. Each sports person was billeted out to a different family. The Smith Family were to host Vlad. He was an Olympic Gold Medallist in Cycling.
Sam Smith, the son of the host family, was over the moon. Vlad was his hero. Oh but what a disappointment! Sam Smith couldn’t be home for the night that Vlad was to stay. His mother would get an autograph – and give a blow by blow account of how things went.
“Dear Sam, Vlad has come and gone. I’m afraid your father rather let us down. Our guest brought a bottle of vodka for us and your father decided to show how much he appreciated the gesture by drinking it all. He’d never touched vodka in his life. Then he started singing some rather bawdy songs he knew from when in the Navy. Terribly out of key, and then singing his own words to the Song of the Vulgar Boatmen. I was glad you weren’t there; you would’ve heard words you wouldn’t know existed. It was a relief, when before we’d even sat down to dinner your father went off to bed. He was out to it. Vlad seemed to enjoy his meal; in fact he seemed to enjoy the whole episode judging by his laughter. It was such a pity he couldn’t understand English, but I suspect he didn’t need to.”
Jonathan was nineteen years old and loved to read popular romances. He particularly liked the swashbuckling heroes who rescued the damsels in distress. Then they would fall in love and get married and live happily ever after. Why settle for dark, morose characters when a rumbustious champion could conquer the world? Of course, he never told his friends that he read romances.
It wasn’t silly for Jonathan to think he could be like that. There must surely be some bravery in the world, and some zealous ardour to go with it. All he need do was find the right girl and the right situation.
Anyway, he went to the First World War and got shot.