Bubba's Bar 'n' Grill

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Great stuff, folks.

If you're interested in the Bletchley Park stuff, might I recommend an EXCELLENT book called "Between Silk and Cyanide" by Leo Marks. It's all about the code breakers war during WWII. If you're at all interested in this fascinating piece of history, you will love this book.
I mentioned this in the COT thread but this is more appropriate:

My Hubby was digging through the storage trailer (seriously, we filled an entire trailer of stuff - and a studio) and found some stuff I brought back from Vegas after my Grandfather died. Among them was a manual for the fuel systems of the L-1011, along with a blueprint of the plane. I'm thinking of maybe putting it up on ebay....
Ah, the venerable TriStar. Those were pretty cool. They had an intake on the third engine that is similar to how the Boeing 727's third was. Lockheed was rad.

Those are cool to see. I still see 727's down in Oakland every now and then. Saw one take off a couple years ago, belching black vapors into the sky as she lifted off. There's still a DC-8 that comes into KBFI every now and then. My house intercepts both the N/S traffic for KSEA, but also the E/W traffic for KBFI. So, lately I've been seeing all the cool Boing's fly over, along with the elite corp. lear-type stuff, and on occasion a treat like a vintage WWII craft or whatever is headed into Boeing Field.

Oh, and by the by, don't sell that stuff on ebay unless you're really desperate.
(Bar ‘n’ Grillers: I have recently attended a World War II living history event and have written a short story based on the photographs taken and my experiences there as a civilian reenactor. The pictures will show the parts that really happened and the rest of the story was made up to fill in the gaps, so it takes a little imagination to follow along. I have written stories like these after such events for some time to send to friends and family, so I thought I might go ahead and share them here as well for your entertainment. Just keep in mind, I don’t claim to be a writer, it won’t be perfect, this is just for fun.)

The Occupation

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June 1940, in the north of France,

What was happening to my country was beyond belief. For several days I had been traveling, first by motorcycle, until that broke down, and then briefly by train, but that too came to a halt. Then it was on foot, trying to make my way across the countryside, trying to avoid the main roads. I have come from Lyon, where I reside in the south, and making my way north, back to the farm where I grew up, to help my father and mother during this situation, to see, to know, that they will be okay. I was unmarried, there was no family to depend on me in Lyon, so leaving was not a difficult choice in those times of turmoil, to go and try to protect the family that I did have.

The war had not been going well for France, that I knew, but I was not expecting this. Nobody seemed to know anything for sure. Passing west of Paris, the roads were filled with people walking, carrying suitcases, with carts full of belongings, and weary looks on their faces. Those few with automobiles were not getting anywhere any faster, and I had seen several stalled out, out of petrol and blocking the road. One father was out of his vehicle offering any amount of money for some gasoline, but there was none to be had, while his worried family waited in the car. I wondered what would happen to them.

They were evacuating from the city. But really, did it have to come to that? Could it really be that bad? My eyes saw people everywhere, on the roads trying to get away, but not a single German soldier. I asked them over and over what is going on, what have you heard, but always they don’t know, always only the rumors that the Germans are coming. But I thought, no, it cannot be, France cannot fall, it is just a panic, people were being irrational. I refused to believe it. After that I stayed away from the roads, traveling instead across the fields, finding a barn to sleep in when I needed to.

Finally I made it to my parents’ farm, on the outskirts of a small town near Caen. At least it was where the farm was supposed to be, but something was very, very wrong. Their house, the house that I grew up in, was gone, burned to the ground. There was nothing left but a pile of sooty ashes and the naked chimney reaching up to the sky. There I stood feeling horrified and confused.

In the field in front of the house’s remains there were tents set up, a camp, with men milling about. I could see their horses and their bicycles, and their guns. There was a sign posted, it read “353 Infanterie”. It was the Germans. They were here. But why? Why in my little hometown? There was nothing here of any significance. I cannot believe it. Keeping my head down I walked past the camp, trying not to attract any attention. My thoughts were to make my way into town and try to find someone I knew, to learn what happened to my farm, to find out where my parents were.

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Making it safely past the camp, shortly later I came upon something else that did not belong. Now what was this, a small striped guard shack at the side of the road, manned by two soldiers? It was a German checkpoint. They were trying to control who enters and who leaves the village, and probably searching everyone too. This didn’t sit well with me, people should be able to go where they want, well, except these Germans. Already I could feel my freedoms slipping away. I wondered what I should do. Go back, and try to go around somehow? That would look very suspicious, and besides, I had nothing to hide, so I proceeded up to the checkpoint.

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At first the guards didn’t seem to notice me, and I thought I might just walk on through. But then they looked up, and shouted, “Halt!” and then demanded to see my papers. I wondered what they were so angry about. Luckily I had my “Carte Identité”, or identity card, in my pocket. It was issued in Lyon, and authorized to travel to Caen, so everything was legal and should be okay. Nervously I watched their beady eyes slowly go over the card. I decided to instead look down, and started to count the holes in the worn leather of my wing tip shoes. The weather was warm, and I could smell the odor of the German, and it was apparent he had not bathed in some time, it reminded me of how the bears smelled at the zoo.

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My identification card

Being much bigger than these two Germans, I felt like I could knock them down with my fists, and show them who is boss. I thought about the burned house, and could feel the anger welling up within me. But no, they had rifles, and the commotion would surely attract attention from the nearby camp. No, it was best to cooperate, for now anyway. Just like that, he handed me back my identity card, grunted something, and motioned me to move along. Well, I thought, that wasn’t so bad after all, maybe I can get along with them. I nodded back to him and continued on my way down the street into town.

From the bushes I heard a whisper, “Hey Rey, over here!”

Finally a friendly face, it was Pierre, my boyhood chum, mon ami from when I was growing up. I was really glad to see him. We went and sat together at a picnic table under the shade trees, making sure no one was nearby to hear, and he filled me in on the situation. The Germans had come, and some of the officers were staying in the nicer houses in town. The owners had no choice and had to accommodate them. Some of the local girls were even starting to glance and smile at the occupiers. It was really all too much to bear.

“But Pierre, what about my parents, where are they? Have you seen them?” I asked him.

He looked down, and shook his head very slowly. “I am very sorry” he answered, “but they did not make it”

I was shocked, and tears started to fill my eyes. No! I was there to help them, they can’t be gone, they just can’t. Things were going from bad to worse. I buried my face in my hands.

He explained how my parents did not want to give up their farm, that my father resisted and tried to fight them off. A German officer, now the commander of the village, had pulled out a pistol from his belt, and with a smile on his face, shot both of my parents dead point blank. This officer, described as short and mean, was staying in a house here in town, and could often be found drinking at the local cafe. I decided there and then to avenge my parents’ death, to hunt down and kill this Nazi officer who was responsible, no matter what it takes.

Pierre could see that I was distraught and upset. Knowing I had nowhere to go, he invited me to come and stay with him at his house here in town. It was a good old house, but was in poor condition, needing a whitewashing, so the Germans were not interested in staying there, and had left it alone. When we arrived we had a good meal, some wine that he still had left, and then set down to talking. I told him how I wanted to get that officer, the merciless killer, to relieve the village of that presence. He understood, and said that he would help me.

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Pierre's house

I stayed there in the house keeping a low profile, and a couple of weeks passed by. We heard on the radio that the armistice had been signed, and the war was all but over. France had lost, of course, and the Germans outside were here to stay. It was a reality that was hard to deal with. I thought for sure the British would have come to our aide, and I’m not sure what happened to them. We all sat on our haunches and watched as it happened to Poland, and now the world seemed to only watch as it happened to us too. Oh, will the madness ever end?

One day I was walking through town and I saw him. There he was, the short Nazi officer, my new nemesis, the one who had pulled the trigger against my family. He looked up and saw me too. I guessed he didn’t like that I was bigger than he was, and felt the need to exercise his authority, to hassle me and give me a hard time. Kind of like how a little dog needs to make a lot of noise to make himself bigger than he is. This cocky little officer started shouting at me and demanded to see my papers.

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As he looked over my card, like at the checkpoint earlier, I began to get angrier and angrier. It was plain to see how big I am compared to this little pipsqueak. I could easily pound his Nazi face into the pavement, if it wasn’t for his big rifle, and his buddies close by keeping watch. No, I must bide my time until the opportunity is right...

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Just then, I turned and ran. I did not mean to do it, it just kind of happened, like an involuntary reaction. I don’t think I was afraid of him, no, that was not it. I was more afraid of myself, of my anger, of what I was thinking of doing to him at that moment. I had to get away before I did something I could not control. Behind me I heard a shot ring out from his rifle. I fully expected a sharp pain to shock me somewhere on my body, but I did not feel it. Luckily for me, he had only fired a warning shot into the air. It was enough though to bring me to my senses, and I stopped, and raised my arms in surrender.

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He laughed, saying, “The big guy is not so tough after all!”
Arresting me himself would be beneath him, so he had one of his underlings do it instead. An even shorter German grabbed me by the arm and led me away to another group of soldiers, and they made me drop to my knees while they searched me, kicked me, and humiliated me in front of onlookers.

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Then I was taken to the nearby jail. There I had some time to consider what I had done. They did let me out later that same day, since I had not really done anything, but really I think they just didn’t want to have to feed me.

Back at my new home, Pierre reprimanded me for my careless actions. He explained how running away could have ended very badly. I was lucky the Germans were in a good mood because of their victory. Pierre then told me that he and some of the other men in town were thinking of forming a resistance group, to do whatever they could, to resist the occupiers. He had heard talk in town that similar groups were beginning to form all over. We would resist in a planned organized way, to maximize the effectiveness and minimize the danger. This all sounded good to me, so I told him to count me in. It would definitely help me with my plan to get that Nazi officer.

To be continued with Part 2: The Partisan Attack
Le Occupation: Que les ce qui ne peut pas être changé doit être enduré. Courir Rey courir!
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That was amazing, Rey! I'm stunned into silence... Exclamation
That was great Rey!!
Rey, Mate I enjoyed that very much indeed. You have a natural talent for writing, and the photography makes it all the more "real". I looked forward to reading this, (when I saw it was posted), pretty much as I do when Bubba has posted his NSW updates, and waited for a quiet time, and a beer to savour it. As with Bubba it was a captivating read.

Someone said "The applause of a single human being is of great consequence", I am not sure that is true, but you got my applause mate "Quantum Meruit" (contract law "For what it is worth" - Cutter v Powell 1795) - and I look forward to the next installment.
Very, very good, Rey! I can't wait to hear more!
(Bar ‘n’ Grillers: I have recently attended a World War II living history event and have written a short story based on the photographs taken and my experiences there as a civilian reenactor. The pictures will show the parts that really happened and the rest of the story was made up to fill in the gaps, so it takes a little imagination to follow along. I have written stories like these after such events for some time to send to friends and family, so I thought I might go ahead and share them here as well for your entertainment. Just keep in mind, I don’t claim to be a writer, it won’t be perfect, this is just for fun. All photos by Lori and Rey.)

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Part 2: The Partisan Attack

We were proud to have our small resistance group, consisting of myself, Pierre, and several other men from town, formed and beginning operations. One problem was that we were all not quite sure what these operations should be. We had a couple of meetings in a hidden location during the dead of night to discuss it. The first meeting someone brought a jug of whiskey, which was generously passed around, and as a result not much else was accomplished that night.

The next meeting we discussed how we could try to disrupt day to day life for the Germans. We could sabotage communications in the area by cutting telephone wires and power lines. We could also try to damage equipment, such as slashing tires on vehicles, putting sand in petrol tanks, cutting horses loose, and other ideas similar to those. It was also decided to try and build a radio transmitter so we could keep in touch with other groups in the area, since telephones were now unreliable and most likely tapped. Maybe with a transmitter we could even contact England, but that I think was a bit of wishful thinking. The first thing the others wanted to do was start up a newspaper, just a single sheet one, to help spread the ideas and attract other members. That sounded okay, I supposed, but Pierre and I were looking for something with a little more action.

I brought up my intention to attack the head Nazi officer and his accomplices at the cafe. Immediately everyone was very cool to the idea. Nobody seemed to want to commit to what they said was a hasty, dangerous task. They understood why I was angry, and what my motivations were, but in the end the others advised against it. They said it was just too risky for a new, small group like ours to pull it off. Instead they suggested popping the tires on the car he was using, or throwing rocks through the window of the bedroom he was sleeping in. I shook my head at them. This sounded like child’s play to me. Pierre was the only one on my side, so if we did it, we would have to do it alone.

I knew if I really wanted to get the Nazi officer I would need to have a plan, so after the meeting, at home, Pierre and I talked it over. The real problem was that we did not have any weapons, no guns at all. The Germans had confiscated them all when they arrived. There were rumors of a few hidden guns at some of the outer farms, but it would be too risky to get one and bring it back into town, plus we weren’t exactly sure where they were. We decided we needed a gun, and the best way to get one was to steal one from the Germans. There was usually a group of soldiers drinking at the outdoor cafe, and they always leaned their rifles up against a tree just behind them. I could sneak up and take one when they were not looking. Pierre had other ideas too, he was going to try and obtain a German Wehrmacht uniform. A plan was starting to come together.

It worked splendidly. Silently I walked down the boardwalk behind the tree by the outdoor cafe and could see the soldiers at the tables, drinking and talking amongst themselves. Some of their guns, as I was hoping, were leaning up against the tree. I casually reached out and picked up a rifle, just like that. If seen I was going to say that it had fallen over and I was only righting it back to its place. I hesitated just a moment, to listen for any reaction, and hearing none I held the rifle parallel to the side of my far leg, out of view up against it, moving it with the motion of my steps. Reaching the end of the boardwalk, I turned the corner around the end of the building, and was out of sight in a flash. Once safely hidden, I examined the gun more closely. It was a Karabiner 98k, the standard German service rifle, and it was loaded with five rounds. Yes, this would do very nicely. I noticed the year 1918, the date of manufacture, stamped on the barrel. Interesting, this weapon was made at the end of The Great War, and here it was being used again in the next.

Pierre had some good luck too. He couldn’t obtain a whole uniform, but he was able to trade some bottles of whiskey with a low rank grunt soldier for a pair of uniform trousers and black boots. They were the plain wool green trousers all the soldiers were wearing. It was half a uniform anyway, and Pierre had an idea how to get the rest. Down the street a short distance from the cafe near a wagon was a place where a guard was posted every day. This soldier had injured his hand, he had cut it while using a can opener, and it was bandaged up. He would not be able to put up much of a fight. He also had a rifle. If we could take him out, to mug him or something, we would be able to get the needed uniform jacket, cap, and another rifle at the same time. It was risky, but we felt it would be worth the effort.

We proceeded with the plan. I hid the rifle I had stolen previously around the corner of the building in some bushes, near where the soldier with the injured hand was standing. We made sure that the Nazi officer that I wanted to get was present at the outdoor cafe. We did this by casually walking down the street and pretending to inquire about the price of a drink. No one seemed to notice us. He was there all right, the Nazi who killed my parents, seated at a table. We doubled back around the building and prepared to mug the guard from behind. We would have to move fast, get him out of sight and his uniform jacket off, before he was missed.

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It was now or never. We rushed up around the corner, Pierre ahead of me, and without hesitating he grabbed the German soldier from behind, covering his mouth with his hand so he could not cry out. Bracing the back of the guard’s neck with his other arm, Pierre quickly pulled back on his head, and I heard a little crack, and the soldier went limp as he lost consciousness. I took his rifle, and together we dragged him around the corner of the building. Pierre was already wearing the traded for trousers and black boots, and he undid the buttons on the man’s tunic as fast as he could, with that on and with the cap he would appear just like the guard. I ran over to the bush to retrieve the other stashed gun, and Pierre followed, buttoning up the tunic we had just stolen from our victim.

“How do I look?” he asked with a wary half smile.

“Not bad, that will do. Now hurry, take both of the guns.” I replied back to him.

He slung one gun over his shoulder, and held the other in his right hand. Then he grabbed me by the arm with his left, and yanked me along onto the street towards the cafe. The plan was to have Pierre appear to be the posted guard, and he had just caught me with the rifle stolen earlier from the cafe, and he was bringing me in under arrest. We got within six meters of the cafe tables and I glanced up, seeing my intended target, just as he, the Nazi officer, also glanced up. He looked pleased with what he saw; the offender who had stolen the gun had been apprehended, good work to his eyes, and he started to nod with approval.

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Suddenly my hands sprang into action. Quick as lightning I grabbed the rifle out of Pierre’s hand, aimed it at the Nazi officer and pulled the trigger. I could see a look of confusion on his face as my gun fired with a crack. Quickly I pulled back the bolt, ejected the shell, shoved the bolt forward and fired again. Over and over again I fired, working the bolt back and forth as fast as I could, changing my aim slightly with each shot. On my cue Pierre had retrieved the other gun from his shoulder, and had also opened fire, shooting just as quickly as I was, although I hardly noticed him.

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During the chaos that ensued it was hard to tell exactly what was happening, it was all moving so fast. Soldiers were falling, the tables were overturning, and people were shouting and running. Some of the Germans were scrambling and reaching for their guns. We had figured between the two of us we should be able to hit all the enemies present at the cafe, and then make a clean getaway. A silence suddenly descended, our rifles only held five rounds each, and we were both out of ammo.

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Just then I heard a sound behind me and turned to look. Two German soldiers had heard the shots and were hurrying down the street towards us. We weren’t going to be escaping that way. In front of us at the cafe a couple of the soldiers had risen to their feet, one with a rifle, the other with a pistol. Suddenly this all seemed like a really bad dream, we were trapped. Looking for any kind of cover, I ducked behind the nearby wagon.

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Crouching, I fumbled with and tried to reload my gun, in a futile attempt. Shots rang out, as I inevitably knew they would. No warning shots this time. I saw Pierre fall further out on the street. I felt a sharp pain in my abdomen, and clutched at my stomach as I slowly went down on the pavement.

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This is it, I thought, this is the end for me. And what was I doing here? Why did I try to do this foolish act? For revenge, for pride? In the end it will not help. I might get some of them, but then they will only send more. I was only lowering myself to their level. I wasn’t even sure if I had hit the Nazi officer, the killer, it all happened so fast. I really didn’t even care anymore. Why was any of this happening? Had the world gone crazy?

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The Germans dragged me closer to the cafe, inspecting my wounds. I lay there on my back, gasping for breath. They stood above me, I could see their faces looking down at me. 1918. That’s all I could think of. It was the year engraved on the barrel of my rifle. I had noticed it when I was loading it earlier. 1918, the year The Great War had ended. We had already settled all this, it was over, there was supposed to be peace. Why was it happening again? Had we maybe, somehow, gone too far?

Had we been like the big kids on the playground, kicking Germany into submission, so even when he lay there, beaten and bloody, we kept on kicking, making demands for money and reparations that could never be fulfilled? Until he became so poor, so hungry, so desperate to survive, that he looked to someone, anyone, who could promise to turn things around and help him back up on his feet. Only this time the kid was different, this time he looked up at his alleged oppressors with an icy stare and a half smile that made the big kids pause, and step back with a chill running up their spine.

And then, as I lay there, the spreading darkness overtook me, as it did the world.

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Alors que la nuit descend sur moi, je me demande si je vais jamais voir la lumière du jour nouveau. Mon cœur se remplit de désespoir.
Rey - again I enjoyed that a great deal. I hope you will both keep attending these reenactments, and also writing them up, as it is a pleasant way to spend some minutes reading the "journal".

Top marks as well to Lori for the photo`s!

Liked the French at the end too - I had to Google translate it of course, but nice touch mate.
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