The Words of the des Lauries Family

In Honor of Veteran's Day 2010

Stefan des Lauriers
November 11, 2010

In honor of Veteran's Day, "Sweeping the Fog Away", written by Unificationist Stefan des Lauriers and sung by second-generation Unificationist Chris Alan Derflinger, was aired on Fox's Minstrel Show, in Atlanta, GA, on November 7, 2010. The Youtube clip of the song features a home movie of des Lauriers' grandfather doing his "Locomotive Soft-shoe" in the summer of 1965. Watch the video here

In his story below, songwriter Stefan des Lauriers speaks of his experience with his grandfather, George Oram, who was in the British army in the trenches during World War I. He had an act that he performed in the clubs in London, under the stage name of Eddie Kent.

World War I, known at the time as "The Great War," officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of "the war to end all wars," and was chosen by the U.S. Congress to be the date celebrated as Veterans' Day.

Second Generation Unificationists serving in Iraq and Afghanistan number among more than 40 church members who have answered their country's call to serve on this Veterans' Day.

"Sweeping the Fog Away" appears on Carousel Wind by Chris Alan and Stefan des Lauriers and is available at

Sweeping The Fog Away by Stefan des Lauriers

You can't always find a silver lining in London, sometimes you have to create it yourself. That's why my Granddad used to say: "Here's the broom, go sweep the fog away."

I have two black and white snapshots of my Granddad; in one he stands by a moving van with wooden wheels; in the other he strikes a comical sailor pose. Granddad was a mover by day; by night a tap dancer, performing vaudeville.

In the early sixties, Nanny and Granddad left London's East End and settled in Timmins, a mining town in Northern Ontario. They came to visit us one summer; one of the few times I saw them. I dandled on Granddad's knee on the veranda as he joked around. Some dandelion seeds floated by and he called them, "Paratroopers." The war had left a deep impression on Granddad, but he tried not to let it show. I asked my mother why his eyes looked away. She said it was 'shell shock' from the trenches.

Nanny and Granddad gave me a cardboard cutout of Buckingham Palace. I lined up the miniature guardsmen in the car's rear window as we headed to the beach. Granddad struck the pose of a sailor and Mom took the shot with her Brownie camera.

Before they left we put a thick plank in the backyard for Granddad to do his train dance. The dance mimicked a locomotive, starting slowly, a little faster than roaring down the track with his heavy brogues a blur. I called it a 'Dandy Lion Train,' perhaps because our yard was so full of dandelions. Granddad's hair was gray; his fedora bobbed like smoke from a stack. Granddad was undaunted that summer. With an "About Face!" regiments of dandelions lost their yellow.

Not long after they left I heard my mother say, "He has a heart the size of London. Whenever I was sad he'd hand me a broom and say..." My mother had learned how to cut through clouds herself; she kept a stiff upper lip.

We made the long trip north and parked by the red brick hospital. Everyone went in except for me, and my brother, Kim. They had told us that Granddad was dying of cancer. "It's better if you remember him the way he was."

The next day I moved the plank and saw that the grass beneath had turned white. No one had touched the plank since hearing the bad news. In the silence, Dandelions stood like the Queens guardsmen with their fur hats. The spheres were like another world. A breeze blew the mane off a dandelion. I thought of what Granddad had said: "Here's the broom, go sweep away the fog."

Sweeping the Fog Away

Granddad had shell shock from World War One
Yet his heart was the size of London
He did a little soft shoe like a raggedy rogue
One last time made pistons of his brogues

A gentle wind could shake up your world
When dandelions turn to gray
Just think of Granddad
Sweeping the fog away

He gave me a model off Buckingham Palace
Cardboard guardsmen assembled in a row
He was undaunted -- with an "about face"
Dandelion regiments lost their yellow

A gentle wind could shake up your world
When dandelions turn to gray
Just think of Granddad
Sweeping the fog away

I was just a child dandling on his knees
As dandelion paratroopers floated on the breeze
I didn't get to see him those days were too gray
Granddad said "Here's the broom -- go sweep the fog away." 

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