Sunday, 20 June 2010

Sentimental Sunday: My Grandfather's Sacrifice

My maternal grandfather, William Hubert Ball, was the kind of man who rarely spoke.  He seemed content with his beer and his baccy, and the budgie did most of the talking.  Granddad's main treat of the week was one packet of thumbnail-sized salt biscuits or crackers in the shape of the suits in a pack of playing cards: hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades.

When I was small, I caught the mumps.  Or was it the measles?  I was so little, all I knew was that it hurt a LOT, and seemed to last forever.  We were staying with my grandparents at the time, and my mother was despairing of being able to get me to eat anything - until Granddad intervened.  One day he gave me one or two of his precious crackers, and found that I would eat them where I would eat nothing else.  He went without his weekly treat, and spend quite a lot of his old-age pension money on buying more and more packets for me.  This World War One veteran, who was brave in combat and sturdy and strong during his working life, was gentle and compassionate enough to sacrifice his own enjoyment for the sake of a tiny granddaughter's needs.

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