The weather has finally cleared after more than a week of rain.  It seems appropriate that the sun will shine on this day of thanks.

I was going to speak about my grandfather-in-law, who was at Dunkirk, who saw Germans shooting Canadian sailors in the water, and who survived the sinking of his ship (the Skeena) off the coast of Iceland, only to live a long and incredibly full life.

Or I would speak of his father who was at every major battle of the First World War and survived being gassed.

Or I would speak of coming across the grave of Corporal Ainsworth Dyer in the Necropolis Cemetery in Toronto’s Old Cabbagetown.  I was walking along and I came across this single new stone among those a hundred years old (many victims of the influenza epidemic after WWI).  It was the middle of summer, months after he was killed, and yet the grave was absolutely covered in fresh flowers and Canadian flags.

But I don’t know if I could do them and their stories justice, is all, so I won’t even try.  I will just say ‘Thank you.’  You made this world better by placing yourself between the enemy and those they would harm and by risking yourself in ways we cannot truly fathom here today.

Thank you.

And since this is nominally a crafting blog, I will share with you this poem I found in a book of war verse published in 1918:

Gray Gauntlet
by Elmina Atkinson
first published in The Bookman

Gray Gauntlet, you of the wristlets wrought
Of home-spun soft and gray,
Do you hear the flashing needles click
Three hundred miles away?
Oh, it’s purl and p lain,
And a toss of the arm,
For freeing the endless thread:
And mystic whisp’rings with each stitch
Too sacred to e’er be said.

Gray Gauntlet, you of the sword must go,
We of the spindle stay:
And our needles speed that our lads may march
Mail-coated in woolen gray.
Oh, it’s slip and bind,
And seam and count,
And turn the heels with care:
No craven fears in the meshes hide
But only a murmured prayer.

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