The Meat Grinder

One day my parents left me alone in a butcher shop in Belgium. My uncle was buried outside the village in one of those cemeteries with zillions of headstones sticking out of the ground like white dominos ready to fall over. He got killed in the Battle for the Bridge at Remagen, but i only learned where that was years later. So i survived after all you see. The Debiolles were hosting my family because they had looked after Uncle Kenny’s grave ever since the Liberation of Europe. Even an eight-year-old knew his father had helped to save the Free World back then.
There was only one bathroom, so Monsieur Debiolle peed in the garden when he thought nobody was looking and i couldn’t wait to tell my friends when i got home that Belgians were just like us. Yeah, i made it back to New Hampshire alright. i still wonder why it bothered me so much to be left alone in that butcher shop. My dad was driving my mom crazy that day. He wouldn’t stop asking her to translate the joke about the butcher who backed into the meat grinder and got a little behind in his work.

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