by Bob Moore
The cocky young man turned the beautiful silver object over and over in his hand. He admired his initials, and his baronial coronet, that adorned the front of it. When he opened it his heart skipped a beat, for inside were the wings of a Royal Canadian Air Force pilot, and the words, "From Dad, 1943".
From then until the end of the war the silver cigarette case was always in his breast pocket. Wherever his Lancaster went in the war torn skies of Europe, the case went also. It was a talisman of sorts, never to be forgotten or carelessly left behind. It was a reminder that there was such a place as home, and that his family loved him. After the war the case was retired to a place of honor in his home, but was oft held close as his memories washed over him.
Another thoroughly squared away cocky young man made his way through the jumble of lines, hoses, stacked gear and general clutter that surrounded Dry Dock #1 at the Portsmouth Yard. A time of trial unlike any he had experienced before was about to engulf him. "Holy ____!, Get a load of him! Hey! You ain't reporting aboard Requin are you?"
Five months later a package arrived for the newly qualified and still cocky young man. He stood holding the beautiful silver object and turning it over and over in his hand. He opened it and stared. First at the RCAF pilots wings and his grandfathers inscription, then at what had been added: The Dolphins of a qualified submariner and the words: "From Dad, 1968"
The first cocky young man is gone now,
but the second, grown older and not so cocky any more still remembers.