Tuesday, January 04, 2011

"Boots on the Ground" with the Boarhounds…

I despise that phrase, it’s the free center place on the network “war news” buzzword bingo card. But it actually applies to this little story…

Out the other day with the boar hounds. The meet was up in the forest of St. Gobain, and there was a pretty good fall of wet, cold snow on the ground. I’d left early, and was first to the rendezvous.

On really raw weather days, I wear Corcoran jump boots. They fit me well, are comfortable, and keep my toes warm and dry. Developed for the first American airborne soldiers in 1943, this particular pair is black and dates from the 1950s. (I’d be happy to wear new ones, but they haven’t made them in narrow widths for years.)

So, people started to show up, the usual friendly French hunting people. No one spoke English, and with my poor French there was a lot of silence.

I was standing there waiting for things to get rolling, when I heard a quiet voice beside me:

“Where did you get those boots?”

The speaker was a tall, distinguished looking gentleman.

“Oh, I’ve had them for years.”

“I recognize them, they are from the American Army. My father wore boots like that for five years.

I am seventy three years old, and I remember when the Americans came. French people who can remember are still very grateful for what they did.”

What a generous and kind thing to say.

“Thank you, sir. We remember that French people like your father were fighting the Germans for two years before Americans were, and we are grateful for that.”

And even if we forget, we are.

So thank you, Corcoran, for providing an excuse for a little international friendship.

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