Monthly Archives: July 2013

Excerpt from “The World According To Garp” by John Irving ~~Under Toad~~

picture-WorldAccordingToGarp-IrvingDuncan began talking about Walt and the undertow – a famous family story. For as far back as Duncan could remember, the Garps had gone every summer to Dog’s Head Harbor, New Hampshire, where the miles of beach in front of Jenny Fields’ estate were ravaged by a fearful undertow. When Walt was old enough to venture near the water, Duncan said to him – as Helen and Garp had, for years, said to Duncan – ‘Watch out for the undertow.’ Walt retreated, respectfully. And for three summers Walt was warned about the undertow. Duncan recalled all the phrases.

‘The undertow is bad today.’

‘The undertow is strong today.’

‘The undertow is wicked today.’ Wicked was a big word in New Hampshire – not just for the undertow.

And for years Walt reached out for it. From the first, when he asked what it could do to you, he had only been told that it could pull you out to sea. It could suck you under and drown you and drag you away.

It was Walt’s fourth summer at Dog’s Head Harbor, Duncan remembered, when Garp and Helen and Duncan observed Walt watching the sea. He stood ankle-deep in the foam from the surf and peered into the waves, without taking a step, for the longest time. The family went down to the water’s edge to have a word with him.

‘What are you doing, Walt?’ Helen asked.

‘What are you looking for, dummy?’ Duncan asked him.

‘I’m trying to see the Under Toad,’ Walt said.

‘The what?’ said Garp.

‘The Under Toad,’ Walt said. ‘I’m trying to see it. How big is it?

And Garp and Helen and Duncan held their breath; they realized that all these years Walt had been dreading a giant toad, lurking offshore, waiting to suck him under and drag him out to sea. The terrible Under Toad.

Garp tried to imagine it with him. Would it ever surface? Did it ever float? Or was it always down under, slimy and bloated and ever-watchful for ankles its coated tongue could snare? The vile Under Toad.

Between Helen and Garp, the Under Toad became their code phrase for anxiety. Long after the monster was clarified for Walt (‘Undertow, dummy, not Under Toad!’ Duncan had howled), Garp and Helen evoked the beast as a way of referring to their own sense of danger. When the traffic was heavy, when the road was icy – when depression had moved in overnight – they said to each other, ‘The Under Toad is strong today.’

‘Remember,’ Duncan asked on the plane, ‘how Walt asked if it was green or brown?’

Both Garp and Duncan laughed. But it was neither green nor brown, Garp thought. It was me. It was Helen. It was the color of bad weather. It was the size of an automobile.


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“Spiderman” Theme Song (Words by Paul Francis Webster)

Spiderman, Spiderman, 
Does whatever a spider can
Spins a web, any size,
Catches thieves just like flies
Look Out!
Here comes the Spiderman.

Is he strong?
Listen bud,
He’s got radioactive blood.
Can he swing from a thread
Take a look overhead
Hey, there
There goes the Spiderman.

In the chill of night
At the scene of a crime
Like a streak of light
He arrives just in time.

Spiderman, Spiderman
Friendly neighborhood Spiderman
Wealth and fame
He’s ignored
Action is his reward.

To him, life is a great big bang up
Whenever there’s a hang up
You’ll find the Spider man.




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“A Mad Look At Fairy Tales” by Sergio Aragonés ~~Frog Prince~~


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21 July 2013 · 8:04 am

Excerpt from “No Memory for Pain” by F. Kingsley Norris ~~Maple Syrup~~

One delightful Sunday was spent in the countryside. Across the Ottawa River I was aware we were in a French area. On the Ottawa side of the bridge I was invited to ‘Drink Coca Cola’, on the far side to ‘Buvez Coca Cola’. We drove on through the woods to the sugar bush country, an area covered with snow around the bare stems of the maples, each with a small spigot stuck into the bark, dripping the clear sap into a can below. Large cauldrons had been set up above fires and into these the cans were emptied, boiling and bubbling away, the sap soon became concentrated into the yellow-brown maple syrup.

On a table nearby were shallow round pans about twelve inches in diameter, filled with soft snow, over which was poured the hot syrup, which almost at once congealed into a tacky mass of toffee while the youngsters crowded around twirling little sticks into this delight and sucking away. Only for a few weeks, while the snow is still on the ground and the sap is beginning to rise, can the syrup be gathered; once the buds appear the flavour is spoiled.

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Excerpt from “Follow The Roar” by Bob Smiley ~~Watch~~

picture-FollowTheRoar-SmileyStewart Cink lines up an uphill, five-foot putt for par. His opponent, Tiger Woods, is already in the hole with a bogey. Tiger’s 4 up on Stewart, halfway through the 36-hole final of the Accenture Match Play.

But it’s not over. In fact, if Cink makes this, he can stall Tiger’s momentum and cut into the lead, starting the last 18 holes a very catchable 3 down. A big putt, to say the least. He takes a practice stroke with his belly putter, then carefully rests it behind the ball.

I look around to see if everyone else shares my suspense and notice I’m the only person actually watching Stewart Cink. I follow the gallery’s eyes to the far side of the green to see what’s so distracting.

Tiger Woods is putting on his watch.

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Excerpt from “A Small Furry Hope” by Steven Kotler ~~Ahab~~

picture-SmallFurryHope-KotlerIn the beginning, having no idea what responsibility really meant, I tried to change Ahab’s behaviour.  I would return from the store to find a shredded pillow and lead him over to the mess and firmly say “No!” while trying to remain calm. I was angry, and when this didn’t produce the desired result, even angrier.  But I hadn’t got a dog to be mad at that dog, and scolding Ahab really wasn’t getting the job done. Instead, I decided to review the facts.

These were the facts: Every time I came home to disaster, Ahab looked guilty. When I shouted at him, he looked sorry. If I could trust my read of his emotions, then he knew that what he was doing was wrong but still did it anyway. Armchair psychology said this meant one of two things: either he was so terrified of abandonment that he couldn’t help himself – and what I had been interpreting as political protest was actually pure panic – or else the damage was dog language for “I’m terrified of being left alone, you stupid schmuck!” Either way, he was terrified.

Since there was no way to stop leaving him alone, I started comforting him when I got home. I would ignore the mess, apologize for my absence, and smother him with affection. I mean smother him. The bigger the disaster, the more love he got. I was going on instinct here, as my plan ran contrary to the advice of most dog trainers. That advice covered the gamut, but a typical example was the 2009 ABC News story “How to Cure Your Dog’s Separation Anxiety.” They suggest more discipline – thus cementing my position as “team leader” – or less affection – this breaking him of his “owner addiction.” Across the board, the experts were certain that my strategy – coming home and treating him, for lack of a better phrase, like a human being – would only reward and reinforce his bad behaviour. As often happens in dog rescue, the experts were wrong.

Within a week, Ahab stopped destroying the furniture. Within two, he left the garbage alone. At the start of the third, he got up from the corner, walked over to the couch where I was sitting, and put a paw on the cushion. He was trembling slightly, trying to hide it, but trembling. It took him a little while to work up his nerve, but eventually he pulled himself the rest of the way up and belly-crawled over. He stopped a few inches away to gather himself. The quivering ceased, his fur lay back down, and he lifted his head to face me directly. Martin Buber once said, “An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language,” and this time no different. It really was the first time Ahab had ever held my gaze, I’m not sure what I’d been expecting – maybe fear, wariness, a hint of hope – but what I got was the weight of tradition, a combination of great furry love and truly sober nobility. It felt like Ahab was both offering me his heart and telling men of an ancient trust between our species, a sacred covenant, an honor code I didn’t yet know existed. I’m pretty sure he was also telling me not to screw it up.

Then, our ethics lesson over, Ahab put his head in my lap, sighed once, and fell asleep. Not ten seconds later, he was snoring loudly. I started laughing. It had been such a profound performance. The months of buildup, the fear and trembling, the meaningful look – and for an encore, the melodic sounds of a Panzer tank in the middle of a coughing fit.

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Dialogue from “George Cross Heroes – You’re Nicked” ~~Princess Anne~~

Ronnie Russell:
I’m now at the crown of the road and I’m sort of fifteen, eighteen feet away from him. He’s got Princess Anne by the arm and he’s got a gun at her head, and there’s a tug-of-war going on and he’s saying, “C’mon Anne, you’ve got to come, you know you’ve got to come.”
It was at that moment that she ceased to be this person in the palace that you see. Suddenly there was a real person in front of me.
At that moment, I see a police officer running towards the car. You think that’s it, it’s all over, the police are there now. And I see him just turn, and shoot the policeman.
At the point of realizing that this was more than just a row at the car: I’m seeing a police officer shot. It just kicked in that this has got to stop.
And at that point, I thought I am actually going to smack you so hard now, you will really regret this whole incident; you’ll wish you hadn’t got up this morning.



THE QUEEN has been graciously pleased to give orders for the following awards of the George Cross, the George Medal and the Queen’s Gallantry Medal and for the publication in the London Gazette of the names of those specially shown below as having received an expression of Commendation for Brave Conduct.
(To be dated 5th July 1974)
George Cross
James Wallace BEATON, Inspector, Metropolitan Police.
Awarded the George Medal
Michael John HILLS, Constable, Metropolitan Police.
Ronald George RUSSELL, Area Manager, Exclusive Office Cleaning, London E.2.
Awarded the Queen’s Gallantry Medal
Alexander CALLENDER, Chauffeur, Royal Household.
Peter Roy EDMONDS, Constable, Metropolitan Police.
John Brian McCONNELL, Freelance Journalist, Dulwich Village, London S.E.21.
Queen’s Commendation for Brave Conduct
Glenmore Thomas Walter MARTIN, Chauffeur, Lydney, Gloucestershire.

At about 8 p.m. on 20th March 1974, Her Royal Highness The Princess Anne and Captain Mark Phillips were returning to Buckingham Palace from an official engagement. Their car was being driven by Mr. Callender and they were accompanied by Princess Anne’s personal Police Officer, Inspector Beaton, and her Lady-in-Waiting.
As the Royal car approached the junction of the Mall with Marlborough Road, a white car swerved in front of it, causing Mr. Callender to stop suddenly. Leaving the vehicle, the driver went to the Royal car and Inspector Beaton, who was seated in the front passenger seat, got out to see what was wrong. As Inspector Beaton approached, the man pointed a revolver at him and fired, wounding him in the shoulder. Despite his wound the Inspector drew his pistol and fired at the man, but the shot missed. He was unable to fire again as his gun jammed, and as he moved to the nearside of the car and tried to clear the stoppage the gunman told him to drop his weapon, or he would shoot Princess Anne. As he was unable to clear the weapon the officer placed it on the ground. The gunman was trying to open the rear offside door of the Royal car and was demanding that Princess Anne went with him, but Princess Anne and Captain Phillips were struggling to keep the door closed. As soon as the Lady-in-Waiting left by the rear nearside door Inspector Beaton entered the same way, and leant across to shield Princess Anne with his body. Captain Phillips managed to close the door and the Inspector, seeing that the man was about to fire into the back of the car, put his hand up to the window directly in the line of fire to absorb the impact of the bullet. The gunman fired, shattering the window, and the officer was wounded in the right hand by the bullet and by broken glass. Despite his wounds the Inspector asked Captain Phillips to release his grip on the door so that he might kick it open violently to throw the man off balance. However, before he could do so, the man opened the door and fired at the officer again, wounding him in the stomach. The Inspector fell from the offside door and collapsed unconscious at the gunman’s feet.
Mr. Callender meanwhile had tried to get out of the car, but the gunman had put the pistol to his head and told him not to move. Undeterred, he got out of the car at the first opportunity and grabbed the man’s arm in an attempt to remove the gun. Although the gunman threatened to shoot him, Mr. Callender clung to the man’s arm until he was shot in the chest.
Mr. McConnell was travelling in a taxi along the Mall when he heard shots. As a Royal car appeared to be involved, he stopped the taxi and ran back to the scene, where he found the gunman shouting at the occupants of the car. Seeing the gun in the man’s hand, Mr. McConnell went up to him in a placatory manner and asked him to hand over the gun. The man told him to get back, but when Mr. McConnell continued to approach he took aim and fired, wounding him in the chest. Mr. McConnell staggered away and collapsed.
Constable Hills was on duty at St. James’s Palace when he heard a noise and saw the cars stationary in the Mall. Thinking there had been an accident, he reported by personal radio and went to the scene. He saw a man trying to pull someone from the back of the car and touched his arm, whereupon the man spun round, moved a few feet away and pointed the gun at the officer. As Constable Hills moved forward to take the gun, the gunman shot him in the stomach and returned to the rear of the car. The officer staggered away and, using his personal radio, sent a clear and concise message to Cannon Row Police Station reporting the gravity of the situation and calling for assistance. As he walked round the back of the car he saw Inspector Beaton’s discarded gun, and picking it up returned to the offside of the vehicle intending to shoot the gunman. However, he felt very faint and did not use the weapon as he could not be sure of his aim. He was assisted to the side of the road where he collapsed.
Mr. Martin was also driving along the Mall and when he saw the situation, he drove his motor car in front of the gunman’s car to prevent any possible escape. He then went to the Royal car to render assistance, but the gunman pushed a gun in his ribs. At this point Constable Hills intervened and was shot and it was Mr. Martin who assisted him to the side of the road.
Mr. Russell was driving along the Mall when he saw the gunman attempting to open the door of the Royal car. He stopped and as he ran back he heard shots. Arriving at the car, he saw the man with the gun in his hand and Police Constable Hills being assisted to the side of the road. Regardless of the obvious danger, and seeing that the gunman was holding Princess Anne by the forearm and trying to wrest her from the car, Mr. Russell ran up and punched him on the back of the head. The man immediately turned and fired at him, but fortunately the shot missed. Mr. Russell then tried to get Constable Hills’ truncheon, but hearing more commotion he returned to the Royal car from which the gunman was still trying to drag Princess Anne with one hand, while pointing a gun at her with the other and threatening to shoot if she refused to come. While maintaining her refusal, Princess Anne managed to delay the gunman and to distract his attention by engaging him in conversation. Captain Phillips kept his arm firmly round her waist and was trying to pull her back into the car. Mr. Russell now ran around to the other side of the car, and saw that Princess Anne had broken free from the gunman and was about to leave by the nearside door. She was almost out of the car when the gunman came up behind Mr. Russell and once again tried to reach Princess Anne. Captain Phillips promptly pulled her back into the car and Mr. Russell punched the man on the face. At this point other police officers began to arrive in response to Constable Hills’ call for assistance and the gunman ran off.
Constable Edmonds was one of the first police officers on the scene, and he saw the gunman running away with the gun still in his hand. Without hesitating the Constable gave chase shouting to the gunman to stop, but the man continued to run and pointed the gun directly at the officer. Completely undeterred, the Constable charged the man and knocked him to the ground. Other police officers who had also given chase immediately threw themselves on the man and disarmed him.
The wounded men were all taken to hospital, where bullets were removed from Inspector Beaton, Mr. Callender and Mr. McConnell. Constable Hills received treatment for his wound, but no attempt has been made to remove the bullet from his liver.
All the individuals involved in the kidnap attempt on Princess Anne displayed outstanding courage and a complete disregard for their personal safety when they each faced this dangerous armed man who did not hesitate to use his weapons. It is entirely due to their actions—as well as to the calmness, bravery and presence of mind shown both by Princess Anne and by Captain Mark Phillips in circumstances of great peril— that the attack was unsuccessful.


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“Euro-English” by Author Unknown

The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility.

As part of the negotiations with the Germans, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5-year phase-in plan that would become known as “Euro-English”.

In the first year, “s” will be used instead of the soft “c.” Sertainly, sivil servants will reseive this news with joy.

The hard “c” will be dropped in favour of “k”. This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year, when the troublesome “ph” will be replaced by “f”. This will make words like fotograf” 20 persent shorter.

In the third year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.

Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters, which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling.
Also, al wil agre that the horible mes of silent “e”s in the languag is disgrasful, and they would go.

By the fourth year, peopl wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing “th” by “z” and “w” by “v”.

During ze fifz year, ze unesesary “o” kan be dropd from vords kontaining “ou”, and similar changes vud of kors be aplid to ozer kombinations of leters.

After zis fifz yer, ve vil hav a reli sensibl riten styl. Zer vil be no mor trubls or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech ozer.

Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.
Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas.
If zis mad you smil, pleas pas on to oza pepl.



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“Hey Leonardo” released by Blessid Union of Souls


She don’t care about my car
She don’t care about my money
And that’s real good cos I don’t got a lot to spend
But if I did it wouldn’t mean nothing

She likes me for me
Not because I look like Tyson Beckford
With the charm of Robert Redford
Oozing out my ears
But what she sees
Are my faults and indecisions
My insecure condition
And the tears upon the pillow that I shed

She don’t care about my big screen
Or my collection of DVDs
Things like that just never mattered much to her
Plus she don’t watch too much TV

And she don’t care that I can fly her
To places she ain’t never been
But if she really wants to go
I think deep down she knows that
All she has to say is when

She likes me for me
Not because I hang with Leonardo
Or that guy who played in ‘Fargo’
I think his name is Steve
She’s the one for me
And I just can’t live without her
My arms belong around her
And I’m so glad I found her once again
And I’m so glad I found her once again
And I’m so glad I found her once again
Gazing at the ceiling as we entertain our feelings in the dark
The things that we’re afraid of
are gonna show us what we’re made of in the end

She likes me for me
Not because I sing like Pavarotti
Or because I’m such a hottie
I like her for her
Not because she’s phat like Cindy Crawford
She has got so much to offer
Why does she waste all her time with me
There must be something there that I don’t see

She likes me for me
Not because I’m tough like Dirty Harry
Make her laugh just like Jim Carrey
Unlike the Cable Guy
But what she sees
Is that I can’t live without her
My arms belong around her
And I’m so glad I found her once again
Found her once again
I’m so glad I found her once again
Once again



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“Journey to Delfzijl” by Luke

Amsterdam, February 1945

Gerrit woke in darkness, today was the day he may start the journey, if his parents finally relent and let him go. At only twelve years of age, his mother and father were very worried about sending him off by himself, but they knew the living conditions may get much worse. There was a shortage of food, and it was getting harder each day to find enough to eat. People were falling ill, and they didn’t want young Ger to end up like that. They also knew he had taken risks, by distributing news pamphlets for his Uncle, and that could see him arrested by the Germans.

They had heard the bridge over the River IJssel, at you enter Zwolle, was likely to be closed. Apparently the Dutch authorities were concerned about the number of people heading to the north-east and taking what supplies remained after the long winter. The Germans would give permission for this, since it was in their interests and their focus was on repelling the allied advances.

This closure of the bridge would mean there was probably no chance to get to Delfzijl. It was a trip of more than 200 kilometres and if it was even possible to go another way, it would be much further. Gerrit had done the trip before. He and Wim Slijster had been there last summer, visiting Wim’s aunt who lived on the northern outskirts of Delfzijl.

Aunt Lien, Marten’s sister, had suggested that young Ger stay with her friend Miep who lived quite near the house of Wim’s aunt. Miep had a baby, but a room for him and plenty of food. Her husband was at sea, being in the Merchant Marine based out of Delfzijl.

Gerrit lay in bed, but he could hear his father was already up. He got himself out of bed and walked into the lounge room. Marten had brought his bike into the room, and was checking it over. It had new tyres on it which he had since before the war, but now was the time he needed them. They were lucky to still have the bike as the Germans confiscated most bicycles from the citizens, and this one they had not taken because it had 26 inch wheels, rather than the standard adult size of 28 inches. Marten still had his bicycle too, being authorised as necessary for his work.

Marten looked up at Gerrit and smiled with some sadness.

“Good morning, Ger, the time has come, my boy.”

Gerrit nodded sombrely, but felt a stab of excitement. He continued on into the kitchen where his mother, Jansje, was trying to prepare what meagre fare there was, to have some sort of breakfast. That awful bread again, if you could call it that, Gerrit thought to himself. It seemed more sawdust than bread, how unappealing, but at least it is food. He knew there will be more for him at Miep’s place, but wondered what his father and mother would eat.

How could the Germans let us starve, he thought to himself. It seems so cruel; where is the love for fellow man? He had heard his father and mother talking about this. The Germans had cut off all supplies in retaliation to the railway strike which the exiled Dutch government had ordered last year.  He wished the Allies could provide supplies, there must be so much wonderful food out there somewhere.

His mother greeted him solemnly, and reached for him and held him tightly. She whispered in his ear how she loved him and reassured him again that everything would be all right.

Gerrit sat down to some thin slices of the bread, which had just a fine film of something that pretended to be butter on it. There was also a little pile of grated sugar beet, which Jansje encouraged him to eat, knowing he would need something in his stomach for the long ride ahead.

With no electricity and no gas available any more, Marten had installed an old wood stove and very fortunately, through his work as a technician for the government telecommunications, he was able to bring home old telephone books to use as fuel. Jansje had cooked brown beans for Gerrit to eat along the way.

Marten at work

Marten at work

After breakfast, Gerrit cast his eyes around the apartment, this was home he thought and tried not to let his emotions take over. He knew he must be strong today, and for his parent’s sake, show them he had the confidence to do this.

The apartment had three bedrooms, a kitchen and living area, and the toilet. There was a small balcony off his parents’ bedroom which overlooked the street, and a large veranda across the width of the apartment at the back, which was accessed through the kitchen.  The veranda had space for some potted geraniums and a place to hang the washing. There was also an attic and up there, Marten had kept his pigeons, but of course they were long gone.

A comfortable home, and with Marten’s work an absolute necessity for the government, even more so for the Germans, he had a secure income, but so little food.

The time had come. Gerrit had his few possessions packed and Jansje handed him the beans now packed in a tin tobacco box for the journey. Marten was just giving the bicycle a final check to make sure it was good for the journey.

The old tobacco tin was filled with brown beans

The old tobacco tin was filled with brown beans

Jansje stood very bravely and said, “Well off you go boys, Marten, please be careful, Ger…,” she stopped, could speak no more, and gave him a loving embrace.

Gerrit held his mother tightly, screwing his face tightly to keep the flood of tears from beginning.

Marten put his hand on Gerrit’s shoulder and they turned for the door, quietly without another word.

Marten and Gerrit rode off together on their bicycles, looking about their neighbourhood. There was not much happening. When people are hungry, it is not a time for normal life, let alone with the presence of the German soldiers.

They continued on, speaking very little, reaching the outskirts of town in a short time, and a checkpoint. They dismounted, waiting in line with other people on similar journeys. The soldier inspected Marten’s permit, glancing briefly at Gerrit and his bicycle, and waved them on. Gerrit, being only twelve years old, was not required to have a permit; that would only be necessary if he were sixteen, and surely the war would be over by then.

They rode on; the first stop was to be Hilversum which was near forty kilometres away. The roads were quite crowded with many people pushing carts or prams, heading north in the search for food. Those who had bicycles were riding them with rubber hose in place of tyres.  Some people were taking their possessions, including what food they had, with them. One of the carts jolted on the uneven roadway, and Marten saw a potato bounce free along the road. He quickly leapt from the bicycle and picked it up. Even a solitary potato was too precious to ignore.

After a brief stop in Hilversum, where they enjoyed the brown beans as their lunch, they continued in their journey to Amersfoort. On their arrival there, they sought the local Red Cross shelter where they hoped to find a place to sleep for the night. The local school had been converted into a centre providing support for civilians on these journeys. A straw floor was their bed for the night.

The next morning, Marten was to head back to Amsterdam. He asked Gerrit to tell him which way he was to go, and Gerrit replied carefully repeating the instructions his father had given him. Gerrit looked into his father’s stern blue eyes, and reassured him he could do this. Marten held him close for a moment and ruffled his hair.

Gerrit climbed on the bike, and began to ride. Marten called out, “take care, my boy, we will see you again soon!”

Gerrit waved back and was on his way.

This leg of the journey would take him to Appeldoorn, which was nearly fifty kilometres away. Again, there were lots of people on the road, and Gerrit continued to pedal along in their midst. After some time, he thought he would try his luck with the locals and knocked on the door of a farmhouse. He asked for some water, and they kindly gave him some, and to his surprise, some pieces of rye bread. He hadn’t even seen rye bread for years now, and joyfully munched the pieces he’d been given.

He continued his journey re-joining the mass of people on the road. Sometimes a German vehicle, be it a car or a truck, would come along and the people would move off the road and quietly wait for it to pass, hoping they would not stop. No one wanted their attention. They could easily just stop and confiscate possessions, and if you argued, simply shoot you dead there and then. He was worried about that, worried that the Germans may harass him, or steal his bike, or beat him, or even shoot him. He shuddered at the thought and peddled harder.

He had a short break when he arrived in Appeldoorn, but was soon under away again and making good progress. He was riding through a forest area when he heard a motorcar approaching from behind. The people parted to the edge of the road as it passed through them and continued on down the road without slowing down. It was a German staff car with an open top carrying three occupants, the driver and two officers in the rear seat. They were not interested in these people, and thankfully not interested in a Dutch boy on his bike. Gerrit soon heard a huge roar in the sky above, coming from behind. He looked and saw a plane flying low at the height of the treetops heading straight toward them. Everyone scattered for cover, and looking ahead down the road, the staff car could still be seen. The plane fired its’ machine-guns as it continued on down the road, incredibly loud and terrifying. The car was receiving the full attention of those bullets.

Together with the mass of people, Gerrit continued on and soon approached the wrecked vehicle. The car was slightly off to the side of the road with the occupants slain, slumped in their seats, dead. The people moved quickly on. No one wanted to be anywhere near there when the Germans discovered what had happened.

Zwolle was the next destination, and getting across the river was vital to reaching his destination. Gerrit rolled up to the checkpoint near midday, and waited in the line. There were barbed wire barricades blocking the road, and German soldiers stationed either side of the checkpoint. He walked his bike through the area and the Germans gave him a cursory inspection, but quickly let him go on his way. He went across the bridge, over the river, and into Zwolle. He looked for a place to stay, but as it was not late in the day, the shelter was not allowing people in yet. Gerrit decided he should just keep going. He passed through Meppel, then approached Dwingelo late in the day.

Aunt Lien, Marten’s younger sister, knew people that lived here. They had a farm where she used to go for holidays. He found the place just outside Dwingelo, and knocked on their door. He introduced himself; they gave him some food, and led him to the barn where he spent the night in the hayloft.

Next morning, his destination now only a day’s ride away, he continued on down the road. He passed through Assen, through Groningen, and to Delfzijl. He headed toward the northern outskirts. Miep lived only around the corner from the house he had visited with Wim Slijster.

He knocked on the door.



Filed under Literature, Non-Fiction