12 Grateful to be in America

by admin on October 14, 2011

In later years Harold’s sons would remember stories of how the Germans had effectively blockaded Britain and tried to starve the country into submission.  On the brink of national starvation almost anything that moved became edible.  You didn’t want to know what was hanging in the butcher’s window.  Every day you just prayed to God that you and your family could make it just one more day.

The waiter brought four glasses of water and two leather bound menus for the adults.  Every sort of meat imaginable was on the menu all neatly divided into sections depending on whether it swam or flew or roamed the earth.  The boys wanted to try buffalo or bison as they call it out here in the West.  Harold settled on a lake trout dish.  Ida fought back tears and ordered a steak.

Harold and Ida were grateful to be in America.

After an exceptional meal the family adjourned to their room.  With all the tumult of the day exhaustion had set in.  Ida put the boys to bed and collapsed into a chair in the sitting room.  It was 8:30 P.M. when it hit them.  Samuel Dunwell, the grandfather she had never met, was scheduled to arrive in less than two hours.  The knot in her stomach grew in lockstep with her anxiety level.  Harold tried his best to reassure her, but his apprehension did little to help matters.

Fighting hard to keep her wonderful meal from coming back, Ida struggled to maintain her composure.  “What would he look like, what would she say to him, what would he say to her?”  All these thoughts, and countless others, raced through her mind.  Ida and Harold looked blankly at each other, neither of them able to put into words what they each were thinking.

At 9:30 P.M., while staring at the walls of their room, they heard the mournful call of a steam whistle in the distance.  Fifteen minutes later the porter appeared at their room door to announce that the 9:49 had arrived, right on time.  He also said that a car had been sent for Mr. Dunwell and his son and that they should arrive in about twenty minutes.  “His son?” she said aloud.  It hadn’t occurred to Ida that the other son, her uncle, would be traveling to meet them also. Harold and Ida checked on the boys then followed the porter, making their way down to the Great Hall.

A warm and inviting fire filled the enormous room with a wonderful glow.  They chose two overstuffed leather chairs near the hearth and breathlessly waited the arrival of Samuel and Charles Dunwell.  It wasn’t long before the sound of a vehicle pulled up to the entrance of the grand old hotel.  Ida’s heart was pounding.  At any moment it was surely going to leap out of her chest.  Harold gave her hand a gentle, reassuring squeeze.

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