A Different World

I grew up in a world where neighbours helped neighbours. They may not be friends. Could even be the worst of enemies. But they could. Always. Be relied on in times of need.

Neighbours are those that will be there when you need help.

Growing up in a mining town in Yorkshire, England, everyone was keenly aware of what a certain kind of siren meant. It meant run. Run to the pit head. Because people down there needed help. What help? You will find out when you get there. But get there. Get there fast.

Sometimes it was flood. Sometimes a tunnel collapse. Sometimes, explosion. Or gas. Canary in a coal mine is a real thing. Mining is hard and dangerous. Death, a constant companion. Every shift carried risk. Every day. The miners knew that. Every miner’s family knew that. Not every worker returned home. That’s just the way it was. From the youngest toddler to the oldest grandparent, we all knew that sirens meant run. We all dreaded the sirens.

You could be at work. At school. Walking down the street. In the shop. And then, the sirens…

There are reasons why dark humour exists. Yorkshire people (and many other communities from that day to this around the world) get through the hardest of times by making light of themselves in moments like this. Dark humour helps people deal with the unthinkable. Those that have dealt with this recognise it in the faces of others. Our eyes share a certain light. We are kin.

We get through. One way or another. Laughter might not always be appropriate. But sometimes, it’s the only way. We jest at death. But make no mistake. We know. We will deal with grief later.

For now, we dig.

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