Home > Chapters > 8 – Time Travel Is Just A Tangent Off Of A Thought Process

8 – Time Travel Is Just A Tangent Off Of A Thought Process

Before I go any further, I feel I need to take you with me on a brief tangent of a journey, back through the hazy mists of time, to a place of childhood innocence where nothing mattered.
Come with me, back to Belgium again, to the summer of 1971.

We moved to a small town called Herentals, not far from Antwerp. This was dads latest posting and although it was only to last just over a year I have many vivid memories from this time even though I was only nine or ten. This one concerns the inception of cognitive awareness of all things musical.

Such was the military way that when you moved somewhere you very likely knew somebody that was already there. The army moved its people around in a finite world so meeting up with people you had previously met was bound to happen often. That’s how it was for dad anyway. He was still working his way up through the ranks but he had made a lot of friends and acquaintances on the way and on arriving in Belgium it soon became apparent that he wasn’t a stranger here. It turned out that the wife of one of dads old squaddie buddies was the Akela of the local Cub Scout pack for us army kids, and it just so happened that their summer camping trip was just about to set off. Without so much as a by your leave, I was sent off to camp with a load of kids I’d never met before.

Once we arrived, it wasn’t so bad. It turned out we weren’t actually camping out under canvas. We were in what seemed like a huge old chateau type building and most of us boys were in a large dormitory bedroom. It was a very loud and chaotic experience, but we soon settled into a routine for the few days we were there. The chateau was set deep in a forest, somewhere in the Belgian outback. I really do not have a clue where we were, but it was great fun. We were right at the edge of a large lake in the middle of this forest. We used to run through the trees and around the shore of the lake just shouting stupid stuff for which we would be admonished by Akela. One day as we ran around, we came across a dead frog. Not dead as in died, but dead as in killed. It had been skewered to the ground with a sharp twig and we were perplexed as to who could have done it, or even why. Perhaps this trip was meant to be more intuitive than I ever imagined.

 It turned out we were not alone in the forest. The whole area was actually crawling with boys from various scouting organizations that had come from far and wide for a Jamboree. But we just carried on running around the lake and shouting stupid stuff, although a little quieter than before. Then one day, toward the end of the week, I had my first ever meeting with a guitar playing demigod.

Running through the trees, unable to see what was ahead, we almost ran into someone. He was sitting cross legged, back against a tree trunk, and he was playing a guitar. I remember him vividly, short blond hair, thin face with high cheekbones but most noticeably he had deformed fingers on one hand where his index and middle fingers were fused together. But he was playing guitar, and very well too. It was just such a random occurrence and totally unexpected. He was probably about 15 or 16 and obviously with one of the scout groups, but playing there in the forest he was alone. I think we engaged in some small talk whilst he strummed some more sounds from his strings, but we soon tired of it and were off again. I didn’t see him again that week.

Indeed, I wouldn’t see him again for a good few years. But with the retrospective introspection previously mentioned I have come to the conclusion this ‘chance’ encounter was pre-ordained.

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Categories: Chapters
  1. May 29, 2011 at 13:47

    Really cool!

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