Inspiration

By Charles Towne

 Well, to start with, and in my own defense I must say that we were just boys, and as the old saying goes, “boys will be boys,” whatever that is meant to imply.

To the best of my memory, Alvin was there.  Alvin was the one my father called, “Dootsie Bobo,” because, as daddy claimed, “That boy doesn’t have the good sense of a hollow stump!”

Yes, Buster, Eddie, Roger, and Dootsie Bobo were there and seeing as I am telling the story I guess I was there too.

We were playing “war” in old man Heron’s woods which was sort of neat because there was the rotting carcass of a slightly dead cow that had died of some mysterious malady several weeks earlier.  

The cow, which we had convinced ourselves had been killed by a German bomb, lent just the right touch of realism to our make-believe conflict.  

We ran around, shooting at each other with our make-believe rifles and machine guns.  
The woods fairly resonated with our “rat-a-tat-tat, kapow, bang-bang and declarations of, “Gotcha!”  Which was usually answered by, “No you didn’t, you just winged me!”

Dootsie Bobo always liked getting shot because that gave him an excuse to fall down and take a nap for the rest of our current war.  

It was drawing on to dinner time so we decided to give the cow a reprieve and we wandered off to our separate homes with the understanding that we would resume our battle on the following day.

Dootsie Bobo and I lived close together so we took a shortcut through the graveyard and that is what gave me the idea.  

Memorial day was just past and a lot of the graves had fresh flowers on them so I went around gathering flowers off the grave so we could give our mamas real nice bouquets.   Personally, I thought the cute little American flags were a real nice touch.

In my own defense I have to say that I was just a little kid at the time, maybe six or seven years old, and though my mama liked flowers gathering them off the graves the way we did probably wasn’t a real good idea.

That evening mama gave me a history lesson.  She told me about the horrors of the first world war, what she called ”The great war.”  And then she recited the poem, Flanders field, by John McRae which is as follows:

FLANDERS FIELDS

In Flanders fields, the poppies blow
between the crosses, row on row,
that mark our place, and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the dead.  Short days ago
we lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
in Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
we shall not sleep, though poppies grow
in Flanders Fields.

That evening mama and I took those flowers out into our back yard and with some small ceremony we dug a little hole and buried them under the old walnut tree.

I must admit, because of that long ago episode Memorial Day with its poppies has always been sort of special to me.


Charles Towne is first and foremost a Christian. An octogenarian, author, journalist, wildlife photographer, naturalist, caregiver, and survivor, his life has been and continues to be, a never-ending adventure filled with possibilities never imagined. He has adopted the philosophy that to Live fully, laugh uproariously, love passionately, and learn like there is no tomorrow, is a formula for a long and joy-filled life.

21 COMMENTS

  1. Happy Memorial Day….Mama was a smart lady. She instilled some amazing values and long-held traditions in you! Love Flander’s Field…going to share just to keep everyone else grounded to what this weekend symbolizes. Thanks again for your wisdom and insight my dear friend!

  2. Dear NH, yes, she was a savvy lady, and fun to be around. I never heard her victimize others. She had a ready smile for everyone and a quick sense of humor in almost all situations. I miss her and look forward to that great day when we will be reunited in God’s kingdom. Bless you dear friend, Chaz

  3. Memorial Day is the day that is set aside to remember with gratitude and pride all of those who served and died for our country and our freedom. May your day be filled with memories and peace. God Bless America.

  4. Great one Charlie, I loved reading “Flanders Fields” again. I know we both thank members of our armed services for their service to our country when we meet them on the street all year long. Thanks you for the lovely memorial day article.

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  5. Yes Mike, its roots reach deep, all the way back to post civil war days. We need to pray for God’s continued protection on our great country. We have so much to be thankful for don’t we? Blessings on you and yours my friend, Chaz.

  6. Oh Herb, we honor both the living and the dead for what they have done for our freedom and our great country. Let us value their great sacrifice and pay tribute to those brave and valiant souls. Bless you Herb, Chaz

  7. Great memory. I loved reading Flander’s Field again. You’re right – this is a piece of history that many, too many, do not know, especially those born after 1990.
    I recall picking morel mushrooms with Mama in the cemetery and wanting to also pick a few flowers from the grave bouquets, but Mama made it clear that that would be disrespectful. We were/are blessed to have her as our mother.

  8. Boy sis, aint it the absolute truth? What value is there in remembering the good that people do? Mama was so precious. You and I are blessed in that remembering aren’t we. I can’t help but smile as I remember her with great fondness. Bless you and yours, Chaz

  9. What a great story, Chuck!
    I truly think your mama and my mama were “cut from the same
    cloth”. Great memories, good lessons and glad to see that
    poem again!! May we ALL be
    thankful this Memorial Day for living in this wonderful country where God has blessed us with
    so many freedoms!!

  10. Dear CSG, YES, YES, YES!, AND EACH OF THOSE FREEDOMS HAVE BEEN PAID FOR WITH AN INCREDIBLE PRICE. What I have a difficult time wrapping my mind around are the individuals that want to take those freedoms away from us. May our wonderful, beneficent, and loving God preserve us until He is ready to take us home. Blessings dear friend, Chaz

  11. Nice Story My Blessed Friend Charles … Based Flanders Field, but also surrounded for our Beautiful Woman (MOM) who brought braves Soldiers, gave us most nicest examples everytime and taking care of Us for the eternity.
    GOD Bless America and YoU and All yours Brother …

  12. My dear friend and brother Leo, well stated as a tribute to all our patriots. It is so sad that our current generation has little or no opinion, good or bad, about our grand country. Let us pray for our leaders and keep the faith. Blessings on you and yours forever, Chaz

  13. Sir, the values that are planted in a child’s heart by a loving mother might not be evident immediately but there comes a day when the sweet fruit of a godly character slowly becomes evident, and that is that faithful mother’s reward, and our loving God is pleased. Bless you, A Friend

  14. A beautiful story Chuck, from that time when patriotism was not a dirty word, when folks took pride in their country and its accomplishments! It is interesting to point out, especially to.those who cry that America is an imperialist country, that the only land we have ever asked for from a foreign country is land to bury our dead who died on foreign soil helping the local peoples defend or gain their freedom!The Flanders Fields everywhere!
    A special blessing ans prayer for protection for all the men and women serving their country on foreign soil and a thankful prayer for all those who never made it home!

  15. A very wise mother. There is something about poetry that sticks in the brain like a song and can make a lesson stick too.

  16. Yes Jorge, you are so right, Mothers , at least most of them, are wise. They are a “type” of God to their children, teaching all things, instructing their children in all that is right, pure and good. Blessings my friend, Chaz

  17. Kristin, I hope all is well with you and yours. What are you guys doing now? Blessings dear friend, Chaz

  18. I am proud to say that you are my father…and I love to read your thoughts. Praise God for those who teach us what is important…and for those who gave all they had to help us live a free life. God bless the veterans and those who never came back…may they never be forgotten.

  19. Likewise, I am proud of my little girl. You are a lot like your mama, and yet so different in good ways. I look forward to that great reunion. Just imagine all the good things you will be able to share. She will be so happy to get acquainted with her grandbabies. I love you sweetheart, Daddy

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