Last night I had a dream that I was a little boy, and my father was a Nazi party member in Germany during WWII. He didn’t seem possessed of particularly extreme beliefs or mean philosophies; he merely wished to participate in community discourse, which is why he was on the city council, and why he participated in ribbon cutting ceremonies, social dinners, and other public community functions. He was a local patriarch, and the reality was, to serve these minor patriarch-functions in our town, one had to be a Nazi. I certainly never thought of my father as a Nazi. He just wasn’t a political man.
One day he was playing the electric organ in our home, and stopped to show me that the F-key was broken. ‘Listen’, he said, as he turned up the volume and played the key again. Inside the sound, I could hear chatter of American voices. It was their radios. The Allied invasion had begun.
In the ensuing chaos we encountered a man. He was most certainly an allied soldier, though he didn’t appear to be much of anything to either of us. He had no visible weapon and his hair was dreadlocked with dirt. His face was concealed behind a beard, and his uniform was a dull khaki, caked with mud. He’d clearly been underground for a long time, and now, seemed to be more animal than man. He looked tired; stoned. Useless. My father didn’t turn him in, as others had done, when encountering allied soldiers. He just stared him down and let him pass.
It was when the full force of the invasion was behind us and the allies had control of our town, that the dirty man came back. Only this time, he had shaved, bathed, and had on a new uniform, and marched down the street, with his unit behind him. He was an American. And he didn’t turn my father in.
The dream ended when I woke up and stared out my window to find that most all chance of Hurricane Joaquin making landfall and causing havoc had passed. Anxiety about whether or not this was going to be our first hurricane experience since we’d moved to New York from California disappeared with the trash and recyclables in the Saturday morning garbage pickup.
I am most certain the imagery of the poorly-groomed American came from this: