“Thanks for the lift, Uncle.” Diane pulled the woolen hat over her ears and jacked up the collar on her coat. “Today, well, are you sure you’re ready?”
“Of course, I am. I’m as ready as ready can be. Why such an askance look?”
She peered into his vehicle through the open passenger window from the sidewalk. “Because your three-piece suit and that homburg hat on the back seat tell me otherwise.” Proud of her uncle, Remembrance Day ceremonies on the second Sunday of November had always been a difficult time for him. “You’re not going to march today, are you?” He shook his head. “Why?” She felt concern creeping into her being. “You’re not going to—"
“Shut myself in the study and drink? No. I stopped doing that two years ago. I’m heading into the station to catch up on some paperwork.”
He had never spoken about his experiences during the last World War—the so-called war to end all wars—but she had learned bits and pieces from her mom, his sister. Still, she never knew or understood why her uncle had not participated in the ceremonies. Family gossip had hinted that it had to do with a broken promise and the loss of his brother Joe in 1917.
“Does Auntie Lila know?”
“That I’m not marching? No. I’ll tell her this morning over breakfast. Cross my heart. Try to understand, Diane, this day conjures up—I can’t explain. Just need more time. Be patient with me.”
“I’ve got plenty of that, Uncle Sandy. I didn’t mean to push.”
“I know that.”
She shuffled her feet to keep them warm. “Before you ask again, I’ll definitely be coming to supper this evening.”
“There is a caveat, though.”
“We’ve invited your mum.”
She hung her head, cursing under her breath while she attempted to gather her thoughts, but it was like herding cats. “I really don’t—that changes everything.”
“Does that mean that now you’re not coming? Diane, I’m disappointed in you. I know your mum can be difficult but surely you can show her some compassion.”
“You know what she said?” He nodded. “Then you also know that they were cruel, hurtful and anti-Semitic words against my fiancé.” She felt tears bubbling up.
“I do but—wait a minute—did I just hear you correctly? You and Lanny are engaged?”
“A month ago.”
"Congratulations! I couldn’t be more pleased. He’s a fine young man. Your mum, does she know?”
"No! It occurred after our row." Behind her, the crash of waves against the rocky shoreline several hundred meters away intruded in her thoughts. And she wished that her mother’s words could easil...