A letter, long delayed, still arrives: right on time. Writer's Cramp Winner 08/25/10
|In my hand I held a letter from someone I didn't know|
and it wasn't addressed to me-- yet I opened it, even so.
Dear Grace, (the letter read, in spidery script of a long ago day)
I felt that I must write to you because there are things that I must say.
Do not give up your journey--nor your dreams to be unique.
Nothing good comes easy, and battles are not won by the meek!
So what if most newspapers don't want women in their ranks
Who cares if it isn't proper to mix with guns and tanks?
You've never been one to sit at home. No, you are one to spit and fight
Follow your heart, so good and true, and I know you'll choose the path that's right.
I glanced at the envelope one more time and saw something, at first, I'd neglected to see--
the postmark on the letter was from 1943!
Now Grace, (the words continued) know I have faith, I do,
and so I'm going to share a secret that stays between us, me and you.
I lived in France when The Great War began, and no one knew from day to day
where battle lines were drawn, or who was safe, or who had died from mustard spray.
The men were off fighting and the women and children hid
until the word spread round, and in our own way, we fought--here's what we did.
Some of us were runners, my, how I loved to run.
And no one paid attention to little girls playing in the sun.
But we carried information, passed on at each appointed place--
of where the Germans were or food supplies or where the soldiers next would face
the enemy. Once, I carried word of an attack, exactly where and when
and snuck up close behind the lines, dodging bullets and dying men
to give it to a Captain so he could move the fight
and they won a decisive battle as the sun hung red that night.
My hands were shaking, my mouth was dry.
I sank to the ground and started to cry.
The letter continued for a few more lines, the writer still had more to say.
I could have been captured, and I could have died from the injuries I received that day.
But I wasn't and I didn't and I'll never regret
and this old lady has some years to go yet.
Drop me a line, dear, let me know now and then.
One of these days I'll be saying, "Oh I knew her, back when!"
It was signed, with love, from your great Aunt Marie
p.s. don't tell my secret-- it's between you and me.
Grace was my grandma, and you might know her name
for her books garnered all sorts of comment and fame.
Though she never received this letter I hold,
I have, and its message will never grow old.