Intrepid Optimist is the place where I can share my stories; fact, fiction and thoughts from the past and present. It’s Written by myself for people who believe adventure knows no age
During my army service in the Egyptian Canal Zone I was part of a desert patrol near Tel al-Kabir and two of us had taken cover on being sniped at by the Egyptian Fedayeen. My colleague and I were in a gully and temporally safe from immediate danger. It was midday, 40 degrees centigrade and the sun blazed down on us. By then we were both desperate for a drink having, against orders, finished our personal one pint allowance.
We had been laying there for a long while, clinging for protection to the arid earth, scared to death and desperate for water. The sporadic shooting had died down but we dared not move and we now were too dry to shout for help to other members of the platoon.
We lay in silence, expecting at any moment to be overrun by the Fedayeen. We were reaching that inconsolable stage when we thought being captured and probably mutilated would be preferable to our craving for water. Finally, At that moment when we thought it better to surrender and hope for mercy and a drink of water, we heard the clinging of a bicycle bell.
From out of the surrounding rocks a young Arab boy emerged, pushing an acient bicycle over the sweltering terrain. He came towards us, chanting in his best English, “Coca–cola, melon, eeece!” Our raging thirst overcame any thought of danger, although we did jump up and point our Sten guns threateningly in his direction. Hanging from the bike’s handlebars were two old hessian bags, filled with bottles of Coca-cola and slices of water melon packed in ice. Heedless to the danger he handed us thick juicy slices of ice cold water melon and we did not even haggle at the price.
Later and back in the barracks, the older soldiers laughed when we told our war story. The boy was well known in and came from a nearby village. It seemed that the so-called sniping was his family shooting in the air to hold up any passing patrol while “Ali” as he was known, had time to sell his wares. Whatever the truth, never since has water melon tasted that good.
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