Whatever you do, DONT mention the War. (marriage & Mausers)

John Cleese as Basil Fawlty comes to mind but this little story involves a person who lived in Vancouver. Yes, really.

Today whilst scarfing down my morning eggs and coffee at ye A & W in the company of my father, a few stories were being exchanged in the background. Naturally, I was doing the Province crossword as I politely pretended to listen. and then....

Our table for two had split like a cell. First two, then four, and when I looked up, eight. Most of the guys were closer to 80 than 50 and all of them were vying for my father's attention. I am unsure how he does it, but the charm factor is high. One of the fellows who had moved in beside dad was knee-deep in a lengthy anecdote about a WW2 vet who never forgave the other side. Not the countries alone, oh no, this was a personal vendetta against anyone with a German/Italian/Japanese appearance or last name. It was so extreme the stories resembled high farce. Well, I said, I got one for you.

Long ago, I met a man with a Scottish last name who had the same brand of unforgiveness happening. Alas, noone warned prospective property owners and a family of Italians moved in right next door to Jock. THE EFFRONTERY!

The new guy on the block tried everything to break the ice but our Scot would thaw not a cube nor a crack. The common property line overnight became home to a 15 foot hedge. Things stabilized to an uncomfortable halt. The war was not over, just on siesta. The neighbour had the block on his side, in fact the entire neighbourhood was on his side but Jock was immovable. No *I*talians welcome. The safest course was to never ever mention the war - or anything resembling it.

One of Jock's peccadilloes and hidden passions was for WW2 paraphernalia. As a returning Officer, he had loaded crates of confiscated armnaments and weaponry, and shipped them to his home address. The entire basement of his 3 bedroom bungalow displayed every item he had with typewritten description cards alongside. Jock's was one of Canada's largest personal collection of Nazi/Axis collectibles. Also one of Canada's most illegal I suspect.

And now the two tangents merge-

The Italian neighbour's eldest was getting married and the wedding was to be held in his beautiful back yard where his dedication, time and love made it the envy of many a lesser gardener. Jock, hearing of the impending nuptials was fit to be tied. His wife, his friends, in fact everyone who knew him begged him to overlook this occasion- perhaps go on a wee holiday. "I'll be damned if I'll let those barbarians think they can good time charlie under MY nose." The world held its collective breath as the great day dawned.

Nothing much happened in the morning. The curtains fluttered up and down the block as nervous neighbours tried not to stare obviously. And then, just as the first car pulled up, a figure appeared along the front sidewalk. A figure dressed in full SS Officer dress uniform including Mauser, goose-stepped back and forth along the sidewalk in front of Jocks, from property line to property line. Back and forth. Click heels, repeat.

To the credit of the wedding party, each and every guest pretended he was invisible. And Jock, with one very loud HEIL HITLER went inside just before the vows.

Wish I had a picture to share.