Monday, June 6, 2011

Comes Safe Home

The big toe on your left foot is itchy.

You look up at the grey sky of early dawn and close your eyes as the rain washes your face. You decide to concentrate on the rain and not on the itch, since you can’t take your boot off right now.

Your pal Charlie is telling the joke about the Irishman and the mule. You’ve heard him tell the story a million times before, but you laugh along with the rest of the guys. You open your eyes and look around the crowded boat. Behind you, you hear Fred talking to his buddy, telling him how this type of weather might play hell with the new plants. Fred’s a farmer and the weather is always on his mind. You hear his buddy asking questions about the planting, about the yield, about anything except what’s going on right now.

Charlie sticks his elbow into you. “What?’’ you yell. He takes off his helmut and cups his ear - who knew being in a small boat would be so loud? “What is it?” you say again. He points over the grey edge of the craft to the waves cresting around you.

“Do ya think it’ll be real cold?” he asks.

“I’d think,” you say, “it’s not exactly beach weather.” He nods. “True enough,” he says, “but look around. It’s a sight.”

You raise your hand over your eyes and squint so you can just make out the silhouettes of the other ships appearing through the dim light and rain. You run your tongue over your dry lips and taste the salt from the spray.

“I reckon this weather might be a blessing,” Charlie yells into your ear, “they’ll never suspect we’d be dumb enough to do this today.”

You raise your eyebrows in agreement as you say “Let’s hope.” Charlie gives another quick glance at the churning whitecaps.

“I hate cold water,” he says, “back home, I was always the last one into the lake. I had to take it slow, you know?”

You nod. “Well, yeah,” you say, “cold water can be scary to a kid.”

Someone behind you taps your shoulder. You turn around. “Cold water ain’t goin’ to be his biggest worry today,” he says.

“Nope,” you say, turning back to see the faint outline of a shore appearing on the horizon. “Nope,” you repeat to yourself, “not today.”

Today is June 6, 1944.

I wrote this last year and decided to run it again today. Take a moment today and think what your life would be like if those brave men hadn't stormed those beaches.

The title is from Shakepeare's Henry V - the St. Crispan's Day speech:

He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,

Will stand a tip-toe when the day is named..


  1. Elspeth - Oh, I do remember this post. I thought it was wonderful when you first ran it, and I still do. Such incredible bravery those people showed... It's certainly worth reflection.

  2. This is wonderful, Elspeth. Gives me chills.

  3. Loved it last year and this one as well.
    Thanks for reminding me.

  4. Very nice Elspeth. Yes everyone needs to be reminded of the sacrifices made.

  5. Margot; Thanks so much for the kind words. Since my stories take place in this era, I thought it appropriate to do something to mark the day.

    Carol; Thank you!

    Terry; I think it is a date to remember.

    Giggles; I'm so glad you like it.

    Lauri; Thanks.

  6. We would have had a Russian dominated possibly Soviet Western Europe.
    Their sacrifice was immense and well remembered.

  7. Absolutely chilling. Wonderfully written, Elspeth.

  8. Yes, Elspeth. Thank you thank you thank you.


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