Tag Archives: Canada

Remembrance Day: Karl Mander Gravell

Karl Mander Gravell, George Cross Recipient by Circespeaks

Karl Mander Gravell, George Cross Recipient by Circespeaks

The text of the caption is too small to read in my photo. Please see the caption text, verbatim, below:

George Cross
A Wireless Air Gunner under training, Leading Aircraftsman Gravell was awarded the George Cross for his courage and daring in time of emergency. Involved in a training aircraft crash, his first thought was not for his personal safety but for that of his pilot. Ignoring the fact that his own clothes were ablaze, and himself severely wounded, he endeavored to release his comrade. Had he immediately proceeded to extinguish the flames on his own clothing, he would probably not have lost his life.

Karl Mander Gravell was the only child of my grandfather’s sister. The oldest child in a family of six from Sweden, Anna-Lisa moved to Vancouver, B.C., married there, and had only one child, Karl Mander. Were he still alive today, he would be my mother’s oldest cousin. His mother died in her early nineties, after many years alone, save for the company of a companion and caretaker. What a different life she would have enjoyed had her only child lived. He was 21 when he died.

Karl Mander was a student-in-training when the accident occurred. He died in a fruitless attempt to save his flight instructor, who had died on impact. I will have to ask my mother again, but it is my recollection that he crawled into the burning wreckage, not only with his own clothing and the wreckage on fire, but with a broken back.

Every year the Queen of England honors the fallen who have earned the highest honor, the Purple Heart. Those men and women have sacrificed their lives to save others in the line of enemy fire. Every other year she also honors the recipients of the George Cross, who have sacrificed their life in service to their country, but not under enemy fire. My mother and I hope, one day, to go to London to attend this ceremony and reception, during which the Queen meets and speaks with the families. My mother had the George Cross itself at home for many years. I remember seeing it when I was a young child. It is now with other crosses, and with a different photograph of Karl Mander, in an appropriate place of honor. I am the only person who sees this photo, which hangs near my front door, daily.

Canadians celebrate Remembrance Day rather than Veterans Day. I met a young Canadian while checking out at the grocery store on Friday evening. He wondered where there was an American Legion hall in our area because he needed a poppy to wear. There is not one nearby, so I hope my recollection that poppies are given, and donations accepted, outside the grocery store on Veteran’s Day itself, is correct. In Canada, he explained, all civil servants wear their poppy, for Remembrance Day, for the entire month of November.

Please join me in remembering Karl Mander, his life, and his sacrifice today.

My Slow (Boring) Life

Earth Pacific Globe (Wiki Common

Earth Pacific Globe (Wiki Common

Blues, basketball, bunnies, beer…honestly, how boring can it be? On a Saturday night, the comfortable isn’t always enough. I need to be outside of my comfort zone. There are more and less productive ways to get there, and I am up for either one!

More true confessions: sometimes I get bored on the days when I decide to practice the slow and simple life. It’s just that simple. Or I’m just that simple. Simple enough to write about my supposed simple life on my iPhone 5!

I biked to the pool, did a little claim-jumping–chairs, good spot, the usual–biked to the library, borrowed some books and a DVD, biked home to grab forgotten items & prevent DVD from melting, and back to the pool. The public pool. St. Circe is now boring herself to tears. So sorry, dear readers!

While others slept, Simple Circe was lavishing tender loving care on peas and romaine lettuce. If the tomato plants are wilting, you know it’s bad! A direct western exposure on a 90-plus degree day means over 100 degrees in the sun. Then time to hang the laundry on the line. For the record, my donated second-hand, mini-Miele did the wash. No down by the river, brook, or trough today or any other day. As mentioned, one woman’s trash is another woman’s treasure.

Or is that confused, conflicted Circe? Despite my promise in an earlier post, my artichoke has yet to save the world. The little things we do just aren’t enough. They may be enough to assuage our guilt for a short while, &amp are, I firmly believe, never in vain, but they are not enough.

One “simple-lifer” around here just took a two-hour nap–yes, I’m jealous! That’s a simple act I would emulate if I only could! He is equally unconflicted about this evening. His unwavering plan is to watch the Pacers and Heat. I will join him. Watching a fast-moving basketball game slows down my own spinning wheels.

You knew the Pacers were going to win, didn’t you? They are an unusual team: A lot of 3-guards or small forward types. Coach can neither go big nor small, just medium-large. My greatest delight is to watch a ball-handler, a shooting point guard. But aside from more rimming out, it wasn’t a bad game. It is now Sunday, and I am still wrapping up Saturday.

What I cannot wrap up today or tomorrow is how I can remain a woman so divided: from franchise (corporate) sports late last night to a long hot morning picking organic strawberries and snap peas in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) field.

“Think Globally. Act Locally” is a fine sentiment, along the lines of “charity begins at home,” but we now live in a “glocal” world. The global is local, and the local–act, purchase, and vote–resonates globally. We first-worlders, whether in the U.S., Canada, Sweden, Denmark, or Germany, are but well-intentioned hypocrites unless we adopt radically different lifestyles.

See you at the Bread and Puppet Theatre later this summer? Or maybe along El Camino de Compostela? More opportunity for thought. But does raising political awareness and allowing oneself meditative pilgrimage time bring about change? Maybe you will have moved into your solar-powered geodesic dome house, and I will be left to puzzle alone.