Footprints in the Sand


This is a story from a Ganges Boy  that seems appropriate at this special time of year. I’d like to share it with you.

Many years ago two young boys were called upon to serve their country . They met at a place called Shotley Gate, on a stone ship named HMS Ganges . After many months of training these now young men were drafted to their firt ship , on active service . In the following weeks the young men sailed south to warmer seas , and a bond was formed . One warm and calm night under a full moon disaster struck . The ship was lost , both young men began to swim towards a distant island , unaware of what was to come . One was unscathed , the other badly wounded they fought on , helping one another as daylight approached . Once ashore and with no other shipmates to be seen , the uninjured sailor picked up and carried his friend to safety , many miles over an unforgiving desert landscape , no food or water , just a will to survive and fight another day . Many days passed until they arrived at an oasis , the fitter of the two left the other under the shade of a palm tree with a supply of water and dates . With a guilty conscience and life slowly dwindling away he set off to find help for his friend . With God on his side and a heart of oak the young man reached his destination , he told his rescuers where he had left his friend and was then transported off of the island and sent back home . Many years passed , forty or more ,never again did he see or hear of his friend . Then one warm and calm day he attended a reunion , HMS Ganges had long been closed , her buildings and mast were showing their age and neglect , the whitewashed stones , the holy parade ground unkempt and sad , Nelson hall now cold empty and full of ghosts from his past . With a sadden heart he spoke to new found friends , swapped stories of days passed and asked about his old friend . Over in the corner and sat by himself he spotted a face , a face from days passed . With tears in his eyes and a lump in his throat he spoke to the man . For forty or more years I have searched every street, in the hope that one day we would once again meet . Through gritted teeth and a face that now frowned his friend replied with a voice that shook the ground , ” why did you leave me to die on that day , I  spotted the footprints when they carried me away . One set of footprints all of the way , if it was not for my rescuers I would not be here today ” . With a voice full of sadness the old man replied , yes one set of footprints and they were mine . I carried you to safety and went to find help . They said they would find you and bring you back home , and that’s where I waited with a heart full of hope . But this is what happens when stories are told , parts that are missing and some parts untold . Friendship’s destroyed and forgotten as we get old . If only we remembered the wise words we were told , don’t listen to gossip and don’t be led astray for the rest of our lives we should remember the Ganges way . Wisdom is strength .

A merry Christmas and a happy and sensible new year to all Ganges boys and their families , and absent friends .

Merry Christmas and keep reading

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About irishroverpei

Author of "Lily & Me", "The Royal Navy & Me" and Chapter XXl Armageddon. Writer, blogger and RN Submariner, antique automobile enthusiast.
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