I asked my Dad about the War when I was very
young; he said it happened a long, long time
ago and a long, long way away – seemed a little
vague so I relented thinking he hadn’t attended.
Never knew he was sent tickets to go and only
went because he had to. It seemed to me to be the
only game in town – and, for what I knew, wasn’t
frowned upon because it was so clearly right.
He never said he was against the War,
wouldn’t fight or was opposed to use
of lethal force, or might have sympathised
with causes other than our own.
He said so little other than get tight on ANZAC
Day – an ‘as eloquent’ a way to thus reply
to nonsense accusations, or might have
had he ever even needed a defence.
When I was old enough to understand he
told some wartime stories; they were not
about the War as such, or gory tales, more
about companionship in far off places.
Stranger’s faces in the crowd, swimming in
lagoons with crocodiles, Française plantation
owners drinking wine and telling yarns, sharing
dangers. In time I came to understood.
His mates were circumspect as well but
when I joined the Army wished me all the
best – but said much less. It took me years to
guess and hold onto the telling reason why.
© 9 February 2006, I.D. Carswell