“Gosh, George, I can’t believe it’s still here!” said Fred standing in front of the old fort. We built good, didn’t we,” he grinned at his little brother. “How long was it? Must be 14 years at least. That summer we built the fort is like a dream now, so much has happened.”
“I remember,” said George, “that was the year Eric ran away and joined the army. ma was so upset, but pa said it would be alright. The war in England wasn’t going to last all winter, and besides, they wouldn’t take him, he was too young and would send him home. But they didn’t...and now it’s 1952 and the war is in Korea, and you’re a soldier and ready to go away too.”
“Never mind all that, George, remember when we found the dead sheep?”
“Boy was pa ever mad. Those sheep were supposed to be the best part of our winter meat and I found them in the ditch on the side of the road.
“Guts all over!” said George.
“I guess the coyotes that killed them couldn’t drag ‘em any further. I never saw pa so mad.”
“But those things aren’t very important any more, are they. When’re you supposed to leave for Basic Training?” asked George quietly.
1952 was not going to be a good year.
“Guess I’ll have t’ stay and help pa with the farm,” he murmured sitting down and plucking at the dry grass by his feet. “Do you think this war will be over soon? Down at the gas station they say it will all be over by September, this year for sure. I hope not, I’m not old enough to fight yet.”
“Don’t be daft little brother, you’re not even all grown up yet; you’ll have a war of your own and there’ll be plenty of glory to go around.”
“I remember the stories Eric used to read to us from the Langley Advance before he ran away to join the army,” said George. “We were too young to understand the reason for World War II, but the news we heard over the radio about all the Canadian soldiers, especially the ones that died on the beaches in Normandy, made us proud to be Canadian.
“When I was small I used to think they were stories Eric made up, the fighting always sounded so exciting.
“I miss him, even now...