WAR KIDS (Prime Parental Reproofs)
'Use your head for something besides keeping your ears apart!'
Probably my favourite; it had such punch, with flair.
'A stitch in time saves nine. It also saves lives. Keep your gear in shape.
It could be the difference between life and death.'
A bit harder to follow, but very applicable to almost anything with a little imagination.
'The bugs will get you faster than the bullets! Personal hygiene is important.'
A direct transfer from crawling through swamps, maybe. But we got the point.
'If one eye goes left, and the other goes right, you won't see a trap until you step on it. Never forget – Up – Down -AND Forward!'
(Evil lurks everywhere, eager to catch you, even among those whom you most trust. Today, I would add 'AND Inward!')
'Don't squeeze the toothpaste from the top!'
So spoke the army veteran who trained 'his men' for survival in all climates, on all terrains. The 'toothpaste' bit - a mystery. Like he just 'had to bark' about something not too important. A kind of reflex, or outlet. But we did forget – a lot – not on purpose. It really did upset him.
'Close the door behind you. Were you born in a barn!'
She was a farm girl, born and bred, very bred, bless her heart. You can never reverse it.
'Hear no evil. See no evil. Do no evil.'
(The 'three monkey principles'. I wasn't happy with the first two: they seemed a social cop-out. Mum said, 'You'll learn.' And I did. They always gave me pause for thought because they stressed positivity, not jumping to judgment, and I figured that was only good.)
'Gossip will kill you faster than guns.'
(There was no protection from tongues, none, except my own behaviour at all times.)
'If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all.'
(Positivity again. A real oldie goldie, excellent in a world of such diversity. Very Eastern, I think.)
War raged across the globe; and we played.
Children always play, a built-in 'survival button'.
We skipped double dutch to:
'The bugs'll get you faster than the bullets !'
'Close the door behind you. Were you born in a barn?
Speeding up the rhythm each time – shouting
tumbling to the ground - scraping knees - laughing!
because falling on purpose is funny even when it hurts
it's always funny - because you're NOT DEAD.
caught in the flush of hot muscles and childhood yelping
And forgetting - even for a moment - is refreshment of spirit.
Every day we see the spirits of ourselves.
And we pray for them, all these children
surviving with games and giggles,
and falling about
in war debris
Cynthia Buell Thomas, Sept., 2017