In the process of adjusting three of our books to the correct layout format for an e-book, I have been reminded of how great these books are ... and how wonderful, sometimes funny, but mostly inspirational, the stories are within them.
Here are a few of my favourite pieces of:
The Little Coat: The Bob and Sue Elliott Story by Alan J. Buick:
Chapter Six - Hell on Earth:
The first Canadian infantry unit landed at 7:30 a.m. at Juno Beach and although Bob and his crew couldn’t see what was happening, they knew by the massive number of shells and bombs exploding that all hell had broken loose for the men on the beach.
The Germans were well prepared for an attack, with concrete bunkers that protected their machine gun and antiaircraft emplacements. They also had a formidable force set up
in a big house near the beach, firing their guns from that location. The Queen’s Own Rifles were assigned to attack and secure that house. They achieved this goal but lost more than 100 men within the 100 yards from the shore to that house. (The house was later restored as a memorial to the Queen’s Own Rifles soldiers who lost their lives in that battle.)
Then the LCTs headed towards shore and it was Bob’s turn to join the battle on land. No amount of training could have readied Bob or his comrades for what they were about to experience. Their LCT came to a halt. Down went the loading ramp and Bob’s tank, the second in line, proceeded to drive off. Every previous landing they had accomplished during training had been onto dry land. This time, the vessel had stopped short and they were driving into six feet of water. Bob was at the controls and could feel the waves tugging at the huge Sherman tank. Now he understood the reason for the waterproofing and flotation devices they had installed before boarding the LCT in England.
Once on the beach, they came to a standstill. What they saw there was not something anyone should ever have to witness. Dead and wounded soldiers were strewn about the sand like broken, discarded dolls at a landfill. The combination of bodies and the burning and twisted wreckage of jeeps and infantry vehicles made progress impossible.
Chapter Nine - The little coat:
“So what are we going to do for Sussie for Christmas?” Bob asked his crew a few days later. “She is our lucky charm and we should give her something.”
Letters to Jennifer From Maudie & Oliver by Sharon Gray:
Portraits of Us:
“She could sure use some new clothes,” one of the men suggested. “The ones she’s wearing now have pretty much had it.”
Their conversation turned to other things for awhile but eventually came back to Sussie and her Christmas gift. “New clothes are a great idea, so let’s do that,” Bob commented. “She badly needs a coat, so we should get her that to begin with, but why don’t we get her some other things to go with the coat, too?
Maybe some shoes, a sweater and hat and scarf?”
The men agreed.
“Okay, we know what we want to give her,” Duke noted, “but how are we going to get all these things? There’s nothing in the stores around here. The Germans made sure of that.”
The crew fell silent while they pondered this predicament.
“I hear that some of the locals have been making clothes out of wool Army blankets,” George observed. “Maybe we could do that, too.”
“Good idea. Yeah, a really good idea,” the others agreed.
“Okay, that’s great,” Atchy said. “We can find a good Army blanket no problem, but who’s going to make the clothes?”
“Hey, Bob, did you bring your sewing machine with you?” Duke joked...
Dear Auntie Jennifer,
LIP (our Live-In Person) announced yesterday that she thinks it is time we had a series of photographs taken.
This is Oliver speaking.
Immediately upon this announcement, Maudie went into panic mode. (She is very vain and her beauty is very important to her.)
Maudie stated that she would have to have her nails done professionally.
LIP said that would not be possible as no Siamese cat pedicurist within a hundred-mile radius would do it as she has such a bad reputation. LIP said we are not driving out of town to some poor unsuspecting Siamese cat pedicurist so that Maudie can put him/her into early retirement, probably with bodily harm and, for certain, emotional trauma. Maudie will just have to do her nails by herself. I don’t see what the problem is here as Maudie spends about two hours a day doing her nails diligently...
More HAL Business:
Dear Auntie Jennifer,
HAL the computer has been living with us for some time now.
We have not yet got a full read on him, but we are working on it.
This is Maudie speaking.
We find that he is really quite boring – until LIP starts to push his buttons. Then an interaction between LIP and HAL starts that is really quite X-rated, Auntie Jennifer. We are going to have to remind LIP to close the windows when the weather gets warmer. The neighbours would not approve.
We call this LIP-HAL computer speak – quite different than normal computer speak. We do not understand it at all but we know that HAL is also pushing LIP’s buttons. LIP speaks in a tongue very
foreign to us. It is like this, Auntie Jennifer:
HAL says nothing – just purrs along.
HAL comes with his own mouse. Imagine! This mouse is not like any known to us. First of all, he has no fur. He is very bald and we can’t seem to get our teeth into him. He is about as boring as HAL
as he shows no fear of us. That is not mouse-like. He has the longest tail we have ever seen. HAL sits on it. We have tried to drag the mouse away from HAL, but HAL will not let go. Control freak.
One day, LIP came home and found the mouse hanging by his tail from the desk – still, HAL would not let go...
Never Leave Your Wingman: Dionne and Graham Warner's Story of Hope by Deana J. Driver:
Dionne - Growing Up:
Dionne describes herself as a very spirited person. “I can be stubborn. I’m very strong-willed. Is that the same as stubborn? I’m very passionate and very protective when it comes to my family and my friends. If you hurt them, you hurt me and I’m coming after you!” she says with a laugh.
Natalie Akoon recalls a time when Dionne did some research to make sure Natalie was safe. “While working at an ad agency, I started getting to know the studio manager and we would hang out
together. I found out that his wife was murdered and I was not 100% sure he was telling me the truth about his innocence. I told Dionne the complete story and she had detective skills I did not know about. She found out where, when, others involved, newspaper clippings of the murder and the person who was charged. She could have been an amazing detective!”
Dionne has also been known to ask friends’ boyfriends or partners whom she feels might become short-term to step away after the first group photo so that she can take a second photo of just the friends or family. “I’ve said to them, ‘You have to step out because if you two break up, it will ruin this picture.’ Do you know how hard it is to crop people out of a group photo?” she asks with a giggle.
"I love to laugh. I’ve always felt laughter heals so much. It’s good for you and it makes you feel good inside. I don’t care how stupid I look or what people may say. I just enjoy the laughter.”
The Good Life:
One of Dionne’s favourite stories from her volunteering days at the Allan Blair Cancer Centre occurred when she was working in the wig room one day. A female patient stuck her head in the doorway and told Dionne, “You look too pretty to be looking after sick people.”
Dionne asked the patient to come further into the wig room, where Dionne pointed to a snapshot of an attractive bald woman. She asked the patient, “What do you think of this picture?”
The patient was aghast and said, “What woman would let somebody take a picture of her with no hair?”
Dionne replied, “Actually, that’s me. I am a four-time cancer survivor. I’ve had breast cancer, brain cancer and two liver cancer surgeries.”
The patient grew very quiet and then she grabbed Dionne’s hand, looked at her and said, “My dear, if I look as good as you after all my treatments, it will all have been worth it.”
Dionne had put the photo of her bald self, taken by Graham, on the wall of the wig room in 2005 “because I wanted the women to know that I know what it’s like to be bald. I know what it’s like to try and find that wig that fits so you feel better.”
Dionne and the patient hugged and laughed. “It was quite a moment for the two of us.”