"And Grandad Said…" was a phrase that had come innately to me as a child. I loved him very dearly, and took his every word as Gospel. He was a wise man whose insight into the world was rather mystical, compared to that of my own. His tallest of tales would brighten my day, even if about the simplest of things. A lemon tree become the centre piece of his first pay cheque's offering. Like a metaphoric statement, this tree flourished as vigorously as his stories. He was brought up in a world unease, The Great Depression was in full swing and being a kid in those days was a lot less certain than today. I thought I'd share some magic; the kind all Grandad's offer their precious little Grandchildren, a yarn. This yarn demonstrates the uncanny ability of our Grandparents, a blessing of sorts; the talent of lying. Not those big porkies but moreover, those little white ones which seem to shine a positive light on even the most heinous elements of our world and its history.
Whilst in Europe recently, I rode an emotional wave that forever flows through the continent like the tide itself, the wave of war. Its history tells us of both bravery and cowardice behaviour. Some shocking and euphoric tales emerge from every corner, and as I wandered through city after city, I wondered. When a child asks, "what?" and "why?" who would be there to explain without giving nightmares? Enter Grandad. Kids probably couldn't fathom the thought of war, its gruesome villains and horrendous accounts of torture, for even the general population find it hard to comprehend what happened merely a couple of generations ago. My offering is an account from the eyes of ever protective Gramps, willing to share the stories of war in the most tender of manners.
~And Grandad Said~
Billy was eating his favourite cereal when Mum walked into the kitchen wearing her pyjamas.
“Quickly Billy, we haven’t the time to play with your food”, Mum asserted. She was in one of her morning flusters. “I haven’t even showered yet and we are already running late for the Grandads' Picnic”, she continued.
Billy spun Grandad’s medal in his hand as he spoke. “Grandad said we should wear our pyjamas more often”.
“Billy, it’s not normal to wear your pj’s in public, especially on a special day like this”. Mum cleared the table and rushed off to the shower.
With steam filling the washroom, Billy called out to Mum again. “And Grandad said, when you feel grumpy, you should always wear your pyjamas because it makes you feel better”.
Mum ignored Billy and questioned why he was busy talking when clearly he wasn’t ready. “Speaking of pyjamas, why haven’t you changed?” Billy peered down at his striped attire and explained as best he could. “And Grandad said that wearing a star on your striped pyjamas showed people that you were special, so I’ve stuck one right…”
Mum interrupted and stormed through, tying her hair in a loose bun. “Well if that’s going to make your speech special then that’s what you’re wearing. That’s if we even get there on time”.
Billy grabbed his props and followed Mum outside to the car. “And Grandad said that when you wore striped pyjamas in the olden days, people could have sleep-over parties every night”.
“Yes Billy, I’m sure he did. We can talk about that to Grandad when we get to the picnic”, Mum responded, one eye on the road, the other on the clock.
As Billy and Mum arrived, Grandad waved from the audience. He had saved Mum a seat. Billy raced over to his teacher at the side of the stage. “Thank goodness you are here; you are next, Billy”. Mrs. Hart was fussing like Mum had been at home.
Billy took a deep breath as Mrs. Hart ushered him onto the stage. From the audience, Mum and Grandad waved. Mum had started to put all the morning’s pieces together. Billy held Grandad’s medal high as he explained why all the soldiers had been so brave. “And Grandad said he got this because he saved the pyjama party from ending. He is a really good dancer, so everyone was extra happy to see him”.
The audience laughed and clapped as Billy’s speech came to a close.
Afterward, Mum took Billy and Grandad to the park for ice-cream. As they sat by the pond licking their creamy treats, Billy turned to Mum once more. With a big smile he cheekily stated, “and Grandad said if you wear pyjamas, you get ice cream every day!”
The three giggled and spent the rest of the morning investigating what else Grandad had said.