Effing Feline gets serious #Wewriwa

Photos: DepositPhotos

I, Effing Feline, would like to be serious for once, so no laughing or sniggering. Today, November 11, is the anniversary of the end of World War One. That war had a huge impact on the family of my pet human, Ed Hoornaert.

The battle of Passchendaele

A hundred years ago, the family lived outside of Roeselaere, near Ypres and Passchendaele Ridge. Not one battle . . . not two battles . . . but five battles were fought in the family’s backyard. Grandpa Hoornaert was born amidst a battlefield. Family members suffered horribly. Constant bombardment turned Flanders’ peaceful fields into a muddy, bloody hell.

Perhaps because of the snippets of stories he heard growing up, Ed’s fiction often focuses on the true victims of war. Not the downed soldiers, who at least were armed, and had made the decision to follow orders and march into someone else’s country and shoot it all to hell.

No. It’s the civilians.

Escapee is one such work.

Enemies from the Proxima star system have invaded the isolated mining moon where Catt Sayer, a civilian pilot, makes her living flying supplies on a decrepit airship. She picks up a lone survivor, Captain Dukelsky. He wants her to fly her airship to the far side of the moon to attack the enemy’s base. She agrees . . . but only because she’s sure he’ll give up because of the moon’s cataclysmic volcanoes. Here’s the test she figures will convince him — flying over a mountain pass flanked by eruptions on both sides.

She had time now to answer Dukelsky’s question. “Riding the flow means I’m trying to catch a hot updraft caused by that volcano.” She nodded in the mountain’s direction, though she doubted he could see much from the couch. “You know the ancient myth of Goldilocks and the Three Bears?

“What does that have to do with—?”

“Too close to the lava, and a big, old papa bear updraft will grab so fast we lose all control. We have to keep enough forward motion to maintain steerage, you know. Too far away, and a momma bear updraft won’t take us over the pass but smack into a mountainside, instead. We need a baby bear updraft that’ll lift us just . . . the right . . . amount.”

The cabin shook as though hammered. Some baby bear.

Effing Feline here again. Know what I think? Somebody should’ve sprayed a hose on those soldiers in Flanders. That, my friends, is the way to break up a cat fight . . . as I know from soggy experience.

Be sure to check out the other great writers in Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday.

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

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32 comments

  1. Nice intro to today’s date. Yes, we heard a story or two about mum growing up during WWII.

    As for your snippet … really liked the comparison to “ancient myth of Goldilocks and the Three Bears” Ancient myth made me chuckle.

    1. I’m unsure how my intro will be received in the States.Maybe because the country hasn’t had a war fought on its soil since . . . I don’t know, the War of 1812? . . . the emphasis is all on the soldiers and not at all on the civilians. I suspect some people would find my comments unpatriotic.

  2. Author Jessica E. Subject · · Reply

    Yes, it’s always the civilians most affected by war.

    I hope it does end up being a baby bear updraft, even if a little strong.

    1. Captain Dukelsky comes out of this mountain pass not daunted by the dangers but impressed by Catt’s flying skills.

  3. In Flanders Field, the poppies grow. . .YUMMY recall of a song from years ago. Always sang these words during WW2 and brought tears to my aunts as we all sat on the front porch. Thanks, Ed.

    1. I didn’t realize the poem had been made into a song. I’ll have to Google it. Thanks for expanding my horizons!

  4. I think your intro is a fitting tribute to the civilians who died, as well as all the soldiers. I attended a service this morning, where the poem In Flanders Field was read, such moving words. And let’s not forget the animals who died it must have been horrific for them, with no understanding of what was going on. I don’t know if they do it in the States, but here in the UK we have purpe poppies among the red, to commemorate the animals.

    1. They don’t do poppies in the States, so when I was in Toronto recently I got a poppy to bring back to Tucson. I’ve never seen purple poppies, but it sounds like a marvelous idea. A school I taught at in British Columbia had a framed photo of poet/soldier John McCrae standing in uniform beside his horse, who deserves a purple poppy.

  5. My family experienced WWI, although not perhaps as closely as yours. And, I wouldn’t be alive if my parents hadn’t been uprooted in WWII. Sometimes, the winds must be just right.

    1. I have fewer family anecdotes about WWII, aside from my dad briefly serving in the RCAF in the Battle of Britain as an airplane mechanic. His war lasted less than a month, though, and not because his airfield was bombed but because he was in a bus accident that broke his leg in umpteen place.

  6. Karen Michelle Nutt · · Reply

    The comparison the Goldilocks’ story made me chuckle and at the same time cringe at how serious the maneuver is to complete. Great snippet.

    1. I had to work to figure out how folks from the far future would know Goldilocks — that’s why I came up with the “ancient myth” line.

  7. I appreciate your comments. It’s easy to forget about the horrors of war when you’re sitting thousands of miles away wrapped cozily in a flag. Loved the snippet too.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Alexis!

  8. Thanks for sharing your family memory of WWI today…enjoyed the snippet today as well of course. Interesting way to analyze the updrafts!

    1. Catt has a knack for making flight comprehensible to laymen.

  9. Thank you so much for your heartfelt introduction. And your snippet has a very interesting introduction. 😀

    1. I guess it’s my day for introductions.

  10. What an amazing and tragic family history, and all too common for Europeans. This snippet got me really tense, maybe because it reminded me of some of the nail-biting videos of people escaping the California fires.

    1. Wow — although I apologize for making you tense, I’m also gratified that this passage could make you feel that way.

  11. I found your comments honest and thought-provoking. My grandfather immigrated from Italy after WW1 – he’d been in the cavalry (drafted), and young men weren’t allowed to immigrate until they were 18. So, I don’t talk about it much.

    Baby Bear seems pretty frightening! I hope Dukelsky knows what he’s doing.

    1. Catt is hoping this eruption will convince him that he *doesn’t* know what he’s doing by trying to travel around the moon in a blimp — but he’s a hard man to convince.

  12. Elaine Cantrell · · Reply

    Your family’s connection to the war is so interesting. No wonder it affected your writing. I doubt that the guy will change his mind.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Elaine.

  13. Diane Burton · · Reply

    Thanks, Ed, for sharing your family’s experience in the “war to end all wars.” We’ve been fortunately here in the U.S. (and Canada) that we haven’t experienced wartime since the 1860s. The civilians will always been the innocent, unarmed victims of war.

    Your snippet shows her determination to get him to change his mind. I’ll bet it doesn’t work.

    1. I said it was the War of 1812 — how could I have forgotten the Civil War? Duh.

  14. Great snippet. I doubt he’ll give up though.

    On Sun, Nov 11, 2018, 01:39 Ed Hoornaert (Mr. Valentine) Ed Hoornaert posted: ” I, Effing Feline, would like to be serious for > once, so no laughing or sniggering. Today, November 11, is the anniversary > of the end of World War One. That war had a huge impact on the family of my > pet human, Ed Hoornaert. A hundred years a” >

    1. You’re absolutely correct, Elyzabeth, and his obstinance drives Catt to violence.
      .

  15. nancygideon · · Reply

    What a moving post, Ed. Thank you for sharing to personalize this often upstaged national holiday. My mom always spoke of the neighbor boys returning from that war and how terrified she was of the gas masks they had hanging in the hall. A reminder of the true face of conflict when in those fields. Great snippet!

    1. I’ve recently become friends with David VanDyke, a very successful author of military science fiction. That made me realize that even though several of my books take place during wars, I never write from the military POV. The realization of why, as discussed in this post, is thus pretty recent.

  16. Flanders Fields…I recall my mother in law reading that poem each May at the Memorial Day service in our local town. Always brings tears.

    The Veteran’s groups pass out small handmade poppies for donations, Memorial Day weekend. The poppies are made by disabled veterans. It’s a rather big thing here. Many people hang them from their rear-view mirrors.

    Thanks for sharing that bit of your family history, Ed. 🙂

    1. This is one of the first times I’ve heard of poppies being a thing in the US.

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