Meet the Author's Author

Meet the Author's Author
Live for Jesus! That's what matters! That you see the light in me and come along! :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Buy Me a Poppy

They sold them every year. People in green and brown clothes and people in blue, smiling, with a box around their necks or in their arms, full of small red paper flowers. Other people came up and put some money in the buckets they had on their arms, and walked away with a little red flower that they'd put on.

'Course, not everyone did it. My family was something Daddy called "pacifist", and he hated the people in green and blue. Every time he saw one of them, he'd call us together and herd us past them as fast as he could. Still, that didn't stop my sister and I looking.

In the end, Marissa stopped looking. She said that Daddy was right, and it didn't really matter. After all, it was just a paper flower that people wore a few days and then forgot about. It didn't seem to matter that much to them, so why would it to us?

I didn't care about what everybody else did. It was the people in green and blue that I watched. And they were there, year after year. They never gave up. And then on Sundays after three weeks of selling poppies, they marched in a fancy poppy parade thing. At least, everyone there wore poppies. Daddy was drunk and asleep that morning one year, so I sneaked the TV on low and watched it.

My school told me about it. Almost everyone wore one at school. Well, the teachers did. The children mostly didn't, unless they were caught and made to by their parents. They didn't think the poppies were that important either.

I wished I could wear a poppy, but I knew Daddy would be very mad if I did. I'd asked for one once before and Daddy had shaken me and told me that it was one of the stupidest things in the world, people wearing poppies, and I was never to ask for one again. Poppies were to do with war, I knew that, and Daddy said that war was a silly thing and that if people stopped fighting, everything would be right in the world.

I knew that wasn't true. After all, there's always bad people in the world, and as long as bad people are there, good people need to fight to keep good things good.


This year, I met a pretty lady in a blue uniform. She was selling poppies, and she smiled at me. I gazed at her solemnly, then looked at the poppies, long and hard. Blood red. So pretty. I wished I could have one. Just to wear once. But Daddy didn't give us money, and I couldn't buy one.

We went into the shop, and Daddy bought this week's shopping. Marissa was acting all grown up as usual and asking for silly girl things she doesn't need. Daddy bought her some makeup. But he won't buy a poppy. I noticed he bought lots of alcohol. I kind of easily asked him what he was doing this weekend, and he said he was going to make a night of it. That usually means he's going to knock himself out drunk Saturday night, and he won't wake up til gone 1 on Sunday afternoon.

I'd always wanted to go to the poppy parade. We lived near the end of the street which the parade came down. Maybe this year, I would get to go. But I didn't have a poppy, and I didn't want to go without a poppy.

Marissa and I went down the other end of the store to get her makeup. Marissa was wearing a pink rose flower in her hair. Why could she wear roses and I couldn't have a poppy?
We passed the nice lady with the poppies again, and she smiled at me. I stared at the poppies, wishing one would land on the floor that she wouldn't want. No such luck.

After about 20 minutes, Marissa decided on her makeup and we headed back to Daddy. The lady had moved on. Daddy was ready to go, impatient, tapping his foot. We decided to go through the self service checkout. Daddy was in a kind of good mood today, and he said we could have lunch in the cafe, and Marissa and I were to go and pick out the menu - a cheap one.

We started down the back of the tills, and there she was again - the pretty lady with the poppies. I looked at her. She looked at me. Then she smiled, reached into her box, pulled out a poppy and held it out. Marissa hadn't noticed and carried on walking. I held my breath. Really? I moved close as we walked past and slowly, hesitant, held out my hand. Am I dreaming? I took the poppy from her as she smiled again, and carried on walking. I held my breath, gingerly cradling the poppy in both of my hands, peeking down at it.

I had my poppy. And come what may, I was going to that parade on Sunday.


This young man grew up to become one of the top pilots in the RAF, and later in life, the Marshal of the Royal Air Force.
Such is life, and the small things that define our existence.

***

I met a small boy today while selling poppies. He passed me three times, each time staring longingly at the poppies. On occasion, I give them to children, as more often than not, the parents will give money for the children's poppies.
I took one out of the box and handed it to him. I still remember his hesitation as he took it, the quick butterfly brush of his fingers against mine as he took it, and the way he walked off looking down at it. He must've been somewhere around 6-8.
This story came from that.