Of Spelling Soldier

My uncle was a war veteran,
In another life and another time he was a decorated hero,

I used to be super proud and deathly afraid of him,

In his starched military fatigues and the long sleeve camouflage always rolled up,
I could never look at him when he was in uniform
But when he was out of uniform he became another guy
He’d toss me high into the air,
I would wonder if he would catch me,
He always did
With his faint smell of Berkely.
After a couple of Castle lagers chased by Berkley cigarettes
He would tell us that nobody wanted war,
You are too young to know what I mean but I never want to see another war again,
The government gave him a payout for his troubles in the struggles,
He built a house with a satellite dish,
And we would visit to watch satellite TV,

They say that’s what tanked the economy when they printed out money to pay out war veterans.
They promised that they would take care of the fees for his children and his estate would include a piece of land to farm on,
Promises, promises.
Government promises are like flowering trees which you only give thanks for after you harvest the fruit of the land,
Oh the land they gloriously fought and died for,

I was fiercely proud and deathly afraid when he came to visit and when I was being naughty in the way kids are naughty,
Like refusing to eat my dinner,
The threat would be he would put on his uniform and take me to war,
I knew enough to know,
Nobody wanted to go,
To war
But sometimes some body had to do it.

In primary school, I wrote an essay about him,
All of seven lines and I wrote the word soldier 4 times and each time a different kind of wrong,

My 3rd grade teacher laughed at how I couldn’t be consistently wrong,
I don’t know why, 
I just couldn’t spell the darn word,
Every. Single. Time.
It’s easy she said..

How to spell SOLDIER simply remember: Save Our Lives Death Is Ever Ready




  1. I have always loved and respected Soldiers a lot. Like, we can’t even imagine how much dedication and how much determination is needed to be out there knowing that you can lose your life in the battle too! I can’t imagine the feelings of their families either.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Raksha
      There is also the flip side of the things and why we even need soldiers doing the things they do to keep us safe and sometimes the lines between duty and morality get blurred

      Thank you for sharing

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is beautiful, B. This speaks so eloquently of the universal heartache of war. I don’t live where you do but I’m familiar with promises unkept. My father and uncles were WWII vets. They rarely spoke about the war. So many didn’t come back, and those who did were changed forever. Blessings to you and your family. ♥.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I never met my grandfather.

    One day the Rhodesian army visited his farm and told him to show them where the guerrillas (ZANLA soldiers) had camped on his farm. He obliged. There was no use lying. When the Rhodesian soldiers asked him why he had helped the guerrillas, he replied, what choice did he have? They beat him to within an inch of his life. My grandmother sent for his younger brother, a policeman (a job he got through my grandfather, who was a retired policeman) and he travelled 4 hours to save his older sibling.

    Though he continued to tend his fields, my grandfather never fully recovered from his injuries. He died a few weeks later, after they had been moved into the keep, a camp where farmers were forced to live to prevent them from helping the guerillas.

    Nobody wants war.

    Nobody wanted war.


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