Monday, May 29, 2017

Let Me Tell You A Story about The Goose and Black Coffee





When Memorial Day arrives, I think of my dad and his stories of WWII. He didn't tell me many until the last days of his life, but I have a collection of them in my head and remembering them is a way for me to remember him and celebrate him along with the others who've fought for our freedom.

The Goose and Black Coffee is one of my favorites, so I'm sharing it here today for my dad and all those others. Most of what I'm sharing is correct, but this is a story from an old memory, passed on to me some years ago and from sketchy notes in his photo album. The essence of the story is the best I can do.




France May, 1944

It was a gray day and the four dogfaces were tired and cold, in need of a place to sleep out of the weather. Their stomachs growled for something to eat. As they drove down a country road, they spotted a spiral of smoke. There was nothing unusual in seeing smoke, but even from a distance it didn't look like a house was on fire. And it wasn't a field. As they came nearer, they saw that it was a fireplace. That meant they might find something to eat and a place to take shelter before joining up with their unit. They were recon, so they often were ahead of the others and more frequently across enemy lines than behind them.

At the farmhouse gate, they pulled their Jeep to a stop. This place had escaped the bombs. The barn was still standing, and one lonely goose wandered out, then flapped its way around the side of the house, which was also untouched by the war. They might have driven off, my dad said, but they couldn't resist the aroma of freshly brewed coffee coming from that house.

When they entered the kitchen, it was clear that the family had been there moments before my dad and the others got out of the Jeep. They poured themselves some coffee, and as my dad recalled, he'd never tasted anything quite a wonderful. 

Now their stomachs really cried out for something to eat and that goose was out there and this might be the last real meal any of the men would have for weeks. The goose gave its life for the U.S. Army that day, and my dad, who was always handy in the kitchen, seasoned it and put it into the oven. Now all they had to do was wait. They were dry. They were warm for the first time in weeks. They'd soon have enough goose to last until D-Day, they joked.

They kicked back and savored the scent of sizzling goose and were debating about a quick nap when the bombs started raining down on them. Like my dad said, "We were not leaving that goose or that coffee behind." 

They grabbed the partially cooked goose from the oven, the coffee from the stove and jumped into the Jeep. With the goose and coffee secured between two of them in the back, they drove off, barely escaping the bombs. 

It took them three days to find another house with a workable stove and oven, but when they did, they also found several unbroken bottles of wine. They stuffed that goose back into the oven, reheated the coffee and uncorked a little wine--maybe a lot of wine. 

Above this picture my dad wrote, "Photo below brings back memories. Had a goose in oven of home with all veggies and big post of coffee going. 10 minutes after photo we were under heavy fire. Carried that goose for 3 days with that coffee before we could do it justice."


Dad's looking kind of serious second from the left. Not the best shot of him.



Here's the "Recon Fox" that Disney presented to the 93rd Reconnaissance Squadron Mechanized that my dad was part of. I love looking through his collection of photos and notes. I find something I didn't know about each time.







Quote of the Week: "A man's country is not a certain area of land, of mountains, rivers and woods, it is a principle and patriotism is loyalty to that principle." George William Curtis 


46 comments:

  1. LOl - I love that story. I'm sure none of that goose, coffee, or wine went to waste.

    My father died when I was young, so I never got to hear any of his WWII stories. I do have B&W photos of him on the ship and several metal pieces from the Japanese planes they shot down.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I treasure these photos even though they're grainy. Sorry you lost your dad at that age. He must have also been a young man.

      Delete
  2. Enjoyed the story. My dad and 2 brothers fought in WWII. The youngest was a gunner in France. He died here. He sent his mother a sea shell from the beach of France. I still have that sea shell.

    My grandfather fought in WWI.
    ' Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We have a lot in common. My grandfather was in the Navy in WWI. How touching you still have that seashell.

      Delete
    2. I meant he died in France,not here, sorry. Yes we do. I think its pretty cool too about the seashell.

      Delete
  3. Bet that all got used up, especially after 3 days. That goose had to be cooked.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have to laugh when people point to uncooked poultry now and scream salmonella! Right, you sissies.

      Delete
  4. That's a great story! Love that they were determined not to let the goose or the coffee go to waste.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My dad never got over being hungry during the war. He kept our pantry well-stocked.

      Delete
  5. What a great story, and how cool that you have the photos to reminisce about it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do treasure them. Glad you liked the story.

      Delete
  6. What a special memory your dad shared with you and you shared with us. I can imagine how welcome that coffee was when they stumbled up on that house. I can't believe they had to wait three days to finish cooking the goose. Glad they got to enjoy it.

    Thanks for sharing. :)
    ~Jess

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My dad was always very determined! :-)

      Delete
  7. Love that story.
    My father never told us much about the war - except that there are no winners.
    I do remember him telling us that while in Egypt they had to cover their meals coming from the mess tent or dive-bombing eagles would filch the meat...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a great story. I'm seeing it in my mind's eye now.

      Delete
  8. Hi Lee - thanks for sharing your special story with us. Incredible to read about ... they were lucky to find the coffee and the goose ... and then to actually be able to 'enjoy' them - at least fill their rumbling tummies.

    I've just found a photo of my Dad about 10 years after the war and he's still skinny as a rake - quite scary to see him like that. I've a few things about the War ... but it's not something I'll write about here ... thanks for this though - I'll treasure those descriptions ... cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a dark time for so many countries and so many people. You Brits bore the brunt during that war. I can only imagine how it must have been.

      Delete
  9. Wow, how cool that Disney did that cell for them!

    Thanks for sharing your dad's story. I'm glad they finally got to have that meal.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is one of favorite stories he shared. Thanks for reading it.

      Delete
  10. I love that story. It really captures a very human moment in the midst of war.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think that's exactly why it stuck with me.

      Delete
  11. What a lovely story. I know you're proud of your father and the men who gave so much for us. My older brother served in WW11, in Egypt.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So many live touched by that war. Hope your brother returned without injury.

      Delete
  12. That was so neat that Disney did that for them. WWII was a war that touched so many in ways that still ripple out through their children like you. thanks for visiting my blog today. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Roland. I love that Disney cartoon and it was fun to find among my dad's papers. I always enjoy my visits to your blog.

      Delete
  13. That's such an incredible story and the one that shows the human side of the war too. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, you wouldn't find it in the history books, would you?

      Delete
  14. We honor and thank your father for keeping us safe.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is a wonderful sentiment. Thank you, Sandra.

      Delete
  15. You should write down his stories. At least to pass on to family. :)

    ReplyDelete
  16. What a jewel of a story. In its lightness, it shines a piercing beam of clarity on the horrors of war. Chrys is right; you definitely need to collect your dad's stories into a book. I'd read it :)

    Thanks for the visit over at Quiet Laughter earlier today, Lee. I'll be looking forward to hearing what you think of 'Jackie' when you do get to see it.

    Happy Hump Day!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Aw, great story. Love how determined they were to keep that goose and coffee with 'em!

    ReplyDelete
  18. So glad it ended nicely and they got to eat their goose!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Wow, what a story. I'm reading a book set in WWII right now called Lilac Girls. It's brutal, but a great read.

    ReplyDelete
  20. What a story! It's nice you have stories and mementos to treasure. Appreciate you sharing them with us. I also appreciate your Dad's service. Have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Great story! Couldn't help but wonder about the family that had left the house. There might be an interesting family story that they passed on as well.


    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

    ReplyDelete
  22. What an amazing story! They were so brave to be on recon and be behind enemy lines so much. Maybe your dad was looking so serious wondering how long the goose would take to cook. (I can never figure that stuff out.) I love the Disney mascot! :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. I had a great uncle who fought in WWII, but his experiences weren't the type people like to talk about. Still, I enjoyed this story. It's nice to be able to have a personal connection to history; to have those mementos and memories. I like that quote you put at the end.

    ReplyDelete
  24. That is a wonderful story--don't know how I missed it. I was rooting for the goose and the guys, but really, the goose understands from goose-heaven above.

    ReplyDelete

Please say something to me, anything. Well, not anything, but a kind word will do.