The unique and revealing story of a modest man who made a major contribution.

Downtime - page 107

Occasionally, Dad, after touring a nearby castle or cathedral, would accompany John to a local pub.

"John, being 'English' he liked a beer now and then."

Dad said his drink preference after their 'dinghy rescue' was dark rum. But, having never forgotten his dandelion wine experience, he would usually only have one drink. Rarely two.

"I wanted to be in complete control of myself at all times."

There was one very special pub story he told. It revealed his true character to anyone hearing it. After one of their many ferry trips they had gone into a pub owned and operated by a husband and wife team. She was, as Dad described her,

"...very much with child and due to deliver in a few weeks."

During the various conversations while ordering and eating their meal she had mentioned how, "My pregnancy has gone very well. But lately I have had this incredible craving for a banana of all things! Haven't seen one since the war started. I would just love a banana. I cannot stop thinking about them!"

Dad smiled as he heard this knowing he had a bunch of bananas from Algiers in the flight bag he was holding. After paying, when they got up to leave, he waited until she was out of sight and placed the bananas on the table. John and he then proceeded on their way. Many weeks later, the bananas long forgotten about, they inadvertently returned to the same pub. Having ordered they were standing at the bar when,

"Suddenly this lovely lady I didn't know ran across the room, threw here arms around me and gave me a great big hug and a kiss. I didn't know what to do and wondered if she had a husband nearby that might want to shoot me by now. "

Indeed, her husband was nearby, sporting a big smile, revelling in the look of surprise on Dad's face. Having had the baby, the barmaid looked altogether different now.

Finishing the hug and kiss, she had taken a small step backward and still holding Dad's hands had jubilantly exclaimed, "I thought I
was seeing things when I went to clear the table after the two of you had left! Bananas! Imagine! Bananas of all things! Right after I had been talking about them. I couldn't believe it. I rubbed my eyes and pinched myself. But they didn't disappear!"