Friday, June 25, 2010

England and I

"One morning I woke up and put on my overcoat and noticed bullet holes in it." - Cynthia Baker. My grandmother.

She has never spoken much about growing up in England during WWII. Nor has she said much of anything about her time with the Royal Air Force during that time. On those late nights when I turn on the History Channel and see a documentary on WWII, I know that when I ever see ladies during that time pushing around miniature planes on a miniature map that show the location of English and German aircraft that my grandmother is in there somewhere. It's what she did. In fact, now that I think about it I can recall something else she side once many moons ago when I went over there with her; "I had communication with the pilots in the air, I would hear all their screams and last words as they were shot down, plunging to the sea."

And... That. Is a full stop.

I probably heard more, but I cannot remember. My grandfather, an American soldier, some 13 years her senior, was stationed in her home. She ended up marrying him and together had my mother who was born in Kettering, Northamptonshire, England. Shortly after the war my grandfather (whom, I never met) moved to Washington, DC. He worked as an editor with the evening post earing a living with his new wife and my mother.

How great would it be to still have an evening post in DC. I can imagine Smitty and McCracken relaxing after work reading the evening post with a pipe in one hand and a cold beer in another.


England plays Germany this Sunday. Players and fans are very far removed from that time so long ago. Much has changed since then and too be honest; I find myself pulling for the German side most of the time these days. I don't know why. My grandmother would probably disown me if she heard that. I'm so distant from my grandmothers time, yet I realize she is living history of that event. I am but a distant Anglophile - at this point asking... this infernal thing only comes around every four years... why does it have to be Germany?

But it is.

So here I sit. Waiting for what will come on Sunday. A win or loss against Germany won't mean anything to right or wrong events over three generations ago. Today, even to English fans, is not much more then a heated rivalry. Maybe that's the way it should be. Just a match. But I have to say in some honesty. It is just a little bit more.

An unknown Englishman once said; "Football is just a game where 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes. But in the end?"

"Germany wins."

As I sit here drinking a Beck's pondering England's chances and the reality that wondering into English family history is a dangerous combo with said beverage, I can't help but thinking; Maybe England can get one this time. Not to justify some deep seated dislike towards the Mannschaft... but just to hope that England can get one win against whomever it may be and move on.

Prediction? Heh heh. Germany... on penalty kicks.

And life goes on.

No worries nana. You got them in 1966. They are all Turks and Poles now anyway:)

Let us also not forget this fact that I have verified with all my WC data collecting: In the seven World Cup Finals England have played in since 1966 they have never gone out by more than a single goal.

Impressive above and beyond the world of sport. Such a tiny little island that has gone on to do so many great things. Pride to the end over here.


I probably just jinxed them. Or double jinxed them into a blowout loss. Oh no! Matt! what have I done!


matt wood said...

jinxed them you did, my friend. ...jinxed them you did.

Smitty said...

mccracken, make mine a schaefer