18 January 2013
A Sun and a Beam
It was the end of the war, 1945, in Germany. My teacher was, he said, about three years old at the time, and living with his mother in a small Northern Bavarian town. The war was over, the area occupied by American forces. One day the little boy was standing outside their house by the garden fence, when suddenly there appeared in front of him a man - an American in uniform, a tall man, a black man! Wide-eyed, the little boy looked up at the dark face - he had never seen someone like that before in his life! And this stranger held out two objects to the boy, two things the boy had never seen before either, and, I presume, the man smiled a wide white smile in the black face. The little boy took the two things (perhaps he was too shy to say "Danke") and ran into the house. "Mama, Mama," he called, "Mama, I got a sun and a beam!"
My teacher said that to this day, the smell of an orange peel brings back the image of that black face, of the kindness of a soldier who gave a small German boy his first orange and banana.
Life, the Universe, a Sun and a Beam. I hope the Fruit Ninja enjoys his today.