The sad tale of the flattened spike

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Jaap Verduijn
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The sad tale of the flattened spike

Post by Jaap Verduijn » Tue Nov 14, 2017 9:23 am

It must have been in the late 1980's that, on one of my dozens of vacations in the Verdun/Meuse-Argonne area, I dug up a perfectly preserved spike of a Mannschafts Pickelhaube. 't Was on the slope of the Mort Homme, and in those days of yore nobody bothered you when you arrived on the battlefield with a metal detector and some digging equipment, and every now and then it even happened that a "garde forestier" showed you the places that were most likely to produce good finds.

So I had a perfect spike which, together with much stuff including an M17 helmet, accompanied me, my then wife and our two daughters about ten years later to a new home with a (for us Dutch) large garden. I was rather late becoming a father, so my two daughters were still young, and when in the garden I put up a sign "Access interdit, danger de mort" that I had stolen from one of the tunnel entrances on Vauquois hill not far from Verdun, they stated loudly and insistingly that on top of that post I should place my M17, supply it with horns on both sides, and stick the ancient spike on top of it.

Well, I know my place, and when two ladies (however young) instruct you to do something, you do it. We've all been there, haven't we :lol: ? So the spike finished up on top of the M17, two cow horns finished up on each side of the helmet, and the helmet finished up on top of the pole above the French warning sign.

Some time later, I think in 2012, I needed to fell a tree that was growing far too tall and took away a lot of sun from my garden. A mate of mine and I carefully figured out where and how to start sawing in order to make the tree fall far away from the pole with the helmet. We thought we had it completely right: the tree could "only" fall in a wide arc far away from said pole.

Only it didn't. We saw it go. Slowly and majestically it toppled over, doing the impossible. Whith mathematical precision it smashed down on the exact top of the exact spike on the exact helmet on the exact pole - if we would have tried this deliberately, we wouldn't have succeeded [-X .

The spike was completely flattened. It had survived a war plus decades underground - and in my garden, almost a century after the hullabaloo in which it became separated from the leather and its wearer, it finally succumbed to its fate. The shock also made the horns fall off - they're still lying somewhere in my garden.

The M17 spent the next five years outside, unloved in the grass. The spike finished up somewhere in a cupboard, also devoid of love. Only my recent arrival on this forum made me think of both again, and they're safely in my living room now, where I took the accompanying pictures. Yes, this is the sad tale of the flattened spike :D . Sic transit gloria mundi.

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Jaap Verduijn
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Favourite quote: "Ninety percent of everything is bullshit".

aicusv
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Re: The sad tale of the flattened spike

Post by aicusv » Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:30 pm

Sound a lot like me, what the greatest armies failed to dent in years of fighting, I can destroy in mere seconds.

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Jaap Verduijn
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Re: The sad tale of the flattened spike

Post by Jaap Verduijn » Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:52 pm

Brother :D !
Jaap Verduijn
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Favourite quote: "Ninety percent of everything is bullshit".

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Re: The sad tale of the flattened spike

Post by pickelhauben » Tue Nov 14, 2017 11:00 pm

Funny story !!

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