Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Looking back on the 4 days marches with my dad

I´ve always enjoyed the festivities of the international 4 days marches.

In the past my father took me with him when he went to work for those who walked the 4 days marches. His collegues thought it to be nice to have me around. I was really interested in their nursing and paramedic activities and even though I was far too young they gave me small tasks like handing them tape and such.

I grew into the whole event.
Pouring tea, dealing with the blisters on the feet of a family friend as my first real job, assisting the team´s doctor. I did it all. From loading medical equipment in the cars in the middle of the night, to closing the massage-oil bottles almost 20 hours later.

In between we needed to eat.
At some workplaces we got an abundant breakfast, at other places soup and bread and at the butcher in Groesbeek we got the best of all, and even sausages to take home.
Every year I look back with deep gratitude on those days and years.

It was not always easy to do things.
I remember a very warm year. The doctor needed additional medication. He couldn't leave and none of the others had any spare time. So I was asked to go to the hospital and pharmacy to get things. I got a passe partout to get permission to cross a road that only medics and police could cross, some paperwork for the meds I needed to take back and that was it.
Only on my way back I realised that the passe partout didn't give permission to go back again.
There were no mobile phones. No way to reach the doctor.
I lost my cardigan (in rainbowcolours, I loved it, and my mother was furious when I came home without it.).

I was planning to go through the woods. It would be an extra long way to go, but at least the doctor would get the medication.

Then suddenly I felt the need to look at the ground and saw something. I picked it up and it turned out to be the pin of a nurse.
I put it on and could cross the road and was escorted with speed to the doctor, who ofcourse said nothing about the pin until the escorte was gone.
"Divine intervention", he said.

My dad and I worked with the team for many, many years and it was always a great experience.
Then in the eighties there were massive cutbacks and even though it was volunteerwork, the team stopped working due to lack of funds.
It gave dad and me the opportunity to go to the fireworks and mingle with the crowds.
But that;s another story.


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