When I was a child, just before Remembrance Day, a kindly, elderly gentleman named "Mr. Butson" would come to our one room school (yes, I am THAT old) with the boxes of poppies for us to sell. Twenty five cents for the big ones that stuck on people's car windows (I wonder why they don't have them anymore) and ten cents for the lapel ones - the same exact ones that they still have today. I can still see him in his uniform & jaunty little navy beret and sweet, smiling face. The fact that he limped and walked with a cane from an injury, especially made us want to help the Veterans sell poppies. I liked Mr. Butson and l liked selling poppies.
I only know two poems off by heart - 'LOST OCTOBER', that I posted a few weeks ago, and John McCrae's 'IN FLANDERS FIELDS'. I say it to myself at this time every year, grateful that our teacher, way back in that one room school, made us memorize it. I wonder if kids today memorize anything at all. If they do, this one would serve them well.
In Flander's 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, but 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 Flander's Fields.