unsung hero’s praise (Dronexit#19)

Praise
impossible sea“The impossible could not have happened, therefore the impossible must be possible in spite of appearances.”
(Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express) Looking at the formidable raging sea on this side of the channel, my heart sinks. It is an impossible task to cross tonight. Yet the man and the girl are full of hope. This is what they say to me, “Don’t give up, stay positive and speak good words.”

The man who cooked the delicious Tanddori chicken and Naan bread is not the British soldier who did his solo escape from Dunkirk to England in 1940. This man is an Anglo-Indian chef stranded in the European great war and is determined to take his daughter back to England where she can be safe as she is half Jewish. His English-Jewish wife died in the war and he has vowed to keep the daughter alive.

My mind is full of stored data and as usual, I try to browse through and search out the more positive ones about making the impossible become possible. “Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said. ‘One can’t believe impossible things.’ I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast. There goes the shawl again!” (Lewis Carroll)
“Before I go on with this short history, let me make a general observation– the test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function. One should, for example, be able to see that things are hopeless and yet be determined to make them otherwise. This philosophy fitted on to my early adult life, when I saw the improbable, the implausible, often the “impossible,” come true.” (F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Crack-Up)

The man and his daughter have a story to tell. But they are not telling much. Instead, they read the Bible, sing praise hymns and pray. I keep to myself and cannot help but wonder why I am here. Why me? Why do I appear and cross the channel with them tonight under such precarious condition. The Great War is raging. There are mines under water. The Nazis strafing the waters around you, bombs landing nearby. The weather seems unpromising too. Everything seems to go against us three going to sea and crossing the English channel. Then the man says, “come, it’s time.”

“Nothing is more imminent than the impossible . . . what we must always foresee is the unforeseen.”(Victor Hugo, Les Misérables) Their house is quite near the sea. They have hidden a boat at a deserted spot. It is a small 1940s fishing boat which the Brittany fishermen commonly used. The man says it was badly damaged during the fateful evacuation at Dunkirk!

Late May, 1940, was a desperate time for the Allies. France, Denmark, Luxembourg, and Norway had been invaded by the Germans, and Holland and Belgium had formally surrendered. Strafed by the Luftwaffe, hopelessly outgunned by the German Army, the troops of the British Expeditionary Forces retreated to the beaches of Dunkirk, France. There was little hope of rescue by navy ships because of the shallow waters of the channel. A call went out from the British Admiralty for small boats that could be used in the rescue of the trapped British and French soldiers. Then came a miracle, over 800 boats–pleasure boats, fishing smacks, trawlers, lifeboats, paddle steamers and many other types of craft, captained by sailors of the Royal Navy and by ordinary civilians–set sail to save these men by either transporting them directly back to England or ferrying them out to British destroyers waiting offshore in deeper waters. 338,000 British troops were saved from annihilation from the Nazi onslaught in June 1940 by the “little boats.” (This paragraph is quoted from: https://theyearoflivingenglishly.wordpress.com/2013/05/26/memorial-day-2013-dunkirk-englands-finest-hour/)

The nameless chef volunteered to ferry the British troops too during that rescue operation. His boat was badly damaged. He has since repaired it and is now ready to take his daughter back to England. “You will witness the impossible coming to pass tonight.” The man is confident. Then he says, “The Lord is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.”
Yes, we set sail towards England at midnight. (To be continued)

Note: Is this going to be a miracle? The fact that I am still alive and writing this Dronexit# blog means it shall be a miracle. I even anticipate hearing my senior family members singing endless praises to God when I safely return to my timezone at the end of this time travel adventure. I am an optimistic millennial, remember?

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