11 November just passed, Victory in Europe day, a time when the United Kingdom thinks about its veterans of the world wars and other more recent conflicts.
Throughout my life its always been a time when we thought specifically of the war in Europe. WW1 was over 100 years ago, and the Europe that existed at the time of WW2 is something we see in pictures, postcards from tourist destinations, but it’s become a relic, disappeared in most places.
One of the things I like about sticks (shillelagh and otherwise) is their link with history. Not just post-medieval agrarian history, but even history of one or two generations ago.
A walk down a country lane with a stick and a pipe … these things can take us back to the simple pleasures that gave our grandparents and great grandparents their grounding, things that would have fed and nourished them spiritually (though they’d probably never think in those terms) .
We don’t face same the challenges our ancestors faced, hopefully we won’t need the rifle and the bayonet for them, but the pleasures, the grounding experiences that made our grandparents think of home are still available to us, and it connects us to them in a real way.
And there’s worse ways to remember our old soldiers than that.
Lest we forget.