It was one of those clear, crisp Autumn mornings … so wife, father-in-law (George) and I took some time to walk down through the gardens to the church yard. We crossed the old ‘falling-down’ bridge and up, through the gates leading to our destination.
We were here just last month. George had wanted to show us the grave of his own grandmother, laid to rest some 80 years past and a headstone still offering a surprisingly easy read to the stone inscription. George had a question regarding ‘Stephen,’ the family member mentioned and accompanying, ‘Harold’ who had been killed at the Somme …
Stephen had been unaccounted for.
George could identify with certain stories his mother passed on about Harold over time though had he not heard anything about Stephen. It was clear he wished to learn more.
So I’d asked a friend (genealogist) to spend some time and research George and his part of the family and it was just a short time later he returned with news. Stephen had been formally listed as missing in action (MIA) although our current investigation tells us now … Stephen had survived certain wounds in hospital, outlasted the war and after a time he’d been traced living in southern Europe with his adopted family!
What would ‘they’ have thought!
A bemused George led us away past a mature ‘Wingnut’ tree spanning some 18 metres and which was looking all of it’s 25 years … clearly more than a little past prime time.
‘These get-away too fast, they’re bonnie trees but just too keen to tak a hold and lose their way in the soft earth n the ‘clarts.’ That’ll be felled afore lang.’ stated George.
‘Thats canny good ower there ‘ George directed our gaze to a ‘Cypress,’ the same age as our Wingnut though not as tall at just a little over 3 metres. Straight and strong.
Added George, ‘that’n will be heor long affta that big-un is gone, these tyek thor time te establish yee knaa.’
I continued to mull-over (interpret?) George’s view, taking time to dwell over insights to the headstone, those long overlooked facts uncovered, laying hidden until now …
‘Aye, yee could write a book aboot tha un.’ says George wistfully.
‘Now there was an idea.’ I thought to myself … half listening and thoroughly pre-occupied with our trees. While George pondered his own questions, I observed my own relationship with colleagues throughout our regular business referral group …
George, I thought … I’d much rather understand the advantages time spent building solid foundations than the results the alternative may bring…