For this Sunday I decided to take another chapter out of Yes I do & I did it. This one talks about the war in Europe
My mother was a teenager during the war and had a good friend who died in the bombing of a movie theatre in Antwerp. She told the story to me, how people were being taken out of a house in their street after a V1 fell on it, and they were only fifty centimetres long and all black like a piece of coal. Then there were the German soldiers who would come every day into the bakery and ordered to take away all the bread for the army. One of the Gestapo guys was writing letters to her, and she was very scared of him.
The neighbour was betraying a lot of people to get extras. So one day, he betrayed my grandfather for hiding an English soldier. Grandpa was sleeping in bed when they came into the house to search everywhere, but they couldn’t find any English parachutist. The landing of the soldier and receiving of help and civilian clothes had happened in the domain my grandfather used for hunting. He gave his parachute to my grandfather who turned it into a wedding dress for his oldest daughter who had a shotgun wedding, because she had to hurry up before “the bun in the oven” started showing.
Life just continued during the war. There was still love and sex and also hate and envy, and people trying to survive by betraying other people in. It was all part of the game. One of the stories that horrified me as a kid was about my great uncle who was so hungry he had killed his dog, a German shepherd. He was frying it on a spit, and the German soldiers walked by. He told him it was a sheep, and he received some good money for it and coupons to buy food. At least he didn’t have to eat his dog, and the “bad guys” were happy too, as they rarely had good meat during the war.
Years after the war, my grandfather got upset with a friend of his who was bragging a lot about how good his knowledge of eating “wild” animals was. He invited him to eat “rable,” a special dish made from the back of a hare and very rare to find. He had no time to go hunting days before the dinner, so at the last minute, he got the cat and put her (dead of course) in the wine with garlic and spices overnight. Next day, the “friend” came for dinner, and, while eating, he was praising the quality of the hare and what a connoisseur he was. Upon finishing the meal, my grandfather said, “Jeff, I am sorry. But actually we ate the cat. I had no time to go hunting and, as you can see, this type of bone is typical for a cat, not a wild animal like a hare. One has square bones and the other has more rounded ones.” Jeff never ran that fast to empty his stomach, while my grandfather was laughing his head off and had no issues at all eating his own cat.