It was October 1961. The President had just six weeks earlier spoken at the nearby wall built around free Berlin. His words had resounded inside my Canadian soul, and so like flies to honey my bride and I arrived on our belated honeymoon. Eights months between hell, high water, some pleasing moments, and memories for a lifetime. She is now happily married to a quieter man and they have travelled but not to Berlin. Only my youngest daughter Andrea would follow with me on those steps decades later.
At least by then Genghis was no longer in charge of the gate at Brandenburg. And so I then purchased his hat, one one just like his, and the hat of his boss, a Russian General. Five American dollars each. Cultures clash, cultures dissolve. Ulike me, my bride tends to walk with her feet more grounded, which makes a good balance. My bride then at that moment somehow just now knew that all the other people are about to be mere backdrop to some culture clash one sided drama, however short, now that Genghis saw us get off that dam bus.
Like a shot, the gun of the man I think of Genghis comes off his shoulder. He doesn't yet move his feet. But his body has well begun its advance towards me. He see his duty and this should be fun. His front yard, and he gets to decide if I made a problem. Easy. Push me. I back up and manage to turn away and look at the final place that a live mortal Adolf Hitler gave any final orders. In great irony I always thought, Hitler, always early, ended his life way too late. While he did the right thing and shoot his brains all over the walls of his bunker.
And here stood Genghis and us some hundred feet above. No live Hitler up here any more although his ashes are. Here where we are now standing. I try to take that in. Genghis as I will always know him stands massive at five feet tall. My puny six foot heigh has me feel I am but a wisp in the moment of his next decisions. Sigh. Seconds tick by - we are strutters on Shakespears stage and more, and was I, with not a strut in my bones. That was all in the strut and machine gun of Genghis.
A man with a golden face and from a different world I could never fully realize. I hoped. Siberia does not sound like Miami Beach. Perhaps the cold, the salt, the whips, the dogs, the lack of a soft warm pony to snuggle with. Whoa. But up here above ground, it was October 1961 and this was west Moscow, not east Berlin. Now, I see you, peek a BOO. As a tragicomedy, I saw it as Mr Khan finds Bambi at the gates to Hell. Nudge nudge. So as the proverbial fly is drawn to the scent of offal, this Bambi just had to go over and sniff. What's this?
Curious Bambi. So like a fly to shitep was I drawn to the man I shall always think of as Genghis. And surprise he finds me near Hitlers Bunker the next day. How could this happen? My bride sighs. Genghis knew me better than me, my bride had company. I would seek that out. Curious George peeking into Hell. So again we played culture clash. And so essentially again what could I do but to look back at him knowing I had lost my reasoning mind. But it was our honeymoon, lets enjoy our moments we create. By now, and our honeymoon was just now beginning.
It seemed I was in over my head and could not return. It was to me as if all I was doing was sitting there, minding my own business. So it seemed to me so I sat. But not to Genghis. Age twenty two and that was my introduction to the Communist heart, and it has touched me deeply and eternally. I will remember the Berlin Wall, you may have your Alamo. Peace. In the name of all that is holy, please. Time, gentlemen. Please.
Derek Dashwood enjoys noticing positive ways we progress, the combining of science into the humanities to measure politics, wise use and mis use of power and protective love at