He won’t be coming. The mayor came to let us know. Mother locked herself in her room. I was so sad, I ran away.
Hidden between two bales of hay in the barn, I reread the letters from my father. I looked: the training camp, the boat, the ocean, the English country side, and ’’the Frenchified Street’’as he would say, the ruins, the trenches…. My father took great pleasure in telling us stories illustrated with small sketches
For the last three years he had been telling us about the war, his war. The mail was our one and only link with him. Each day, with expectant hearts, we hoped for a letter. An envelope that would let us know, that our father was still alive in that far- away place. Without us.
Our father called out as he jumped on to train to Valcartier ‘’ the war will be over quickly, we will defeat this tyrant, and I will be home before you know it’’. He was leaving for training before setting sail to the old country. It was Friday August 28, 1914 at 9:45, the last time I saw my father’s smile
My father never really described the war, except to say it was hell. And that hell was ugly, noisy, dirty, and smelly. He preferred to tell us about his French and English friends. He told us tales of ‘’ Sir Arthur’’ a little rat he tamed. He had named the rat in honour of Sir Arthur William Currie, a man my father held in high regards. Dad told us that it was because of him that many Canadian soldiers had been saved. I would like to believe him, but not this time.
Dad is died. I can’t stop repeating it to myself. He died along with 10600 other men in the Vimy battle field. The mayor told us that this battle was a great victory for Canadians and their allies. For the first time, the four divisions of the Canadian army core fought together and it worked.
Thanks to my father and his friends. It would seem the odds went in our favour. My Father is a hero. Yet ‘’hell’’ just threw a grenade into my life.
Louis, avril 1917
Texte : Sylvain Dodier – Illustrations : Luc Pallegoix ©2016 Traduction : Tammy Bailey