Veterans Day Mess Hall
Author: Shiloh


Well, considering what day this is, and the fact that it's raining out, and that I woke up at 0430, I wish that I could just wander over to the mess hall a little early and grab a cup of fresh coffee and sit down and wrap my hands around the cup, smelling the aroma as it drifts up by my nose, and take a sip, then a bigger swallow. Good strong mess hall coffee, boiled in that huge coffee maker, all shiny silver-like... always wondered how many cups that thing made at one time. As many times as I pulled KP and had to clean the thing, I never did find out. I just sort of held that machine in awe, because it was the Giver of Coffee, and that was something really special to me.

My first cup finished, I'd get another, leave it at my place at the table to show that the seat was taken, and I'd go get in line and grab a tray, and start working my way through the line. Three fried eggs, it's okay if they're broken, and some of those home fries there, yes, thank you. Move on a little, and they have a big pan of bacon so I'll have a few pieces with a smile, and I see they have rolls this morning, so I take about 8 of those little sausage things, grab a couple fresh rolls, and there's the glasses (remember the plastic glasses, matched the cups?), so I pick up one of them. On the way back to my table there is that huge rotating toaster, and I grab a slice that doesn't look too burned, and I reach around and cut the heat down a little bit, as the toast seems to be coming out a bit dark and hard on the edges, and if that kept happening there'd be a pile of dead toast to throw out later. Slap a little butter on the toast, and head for that cup of joe waiting for me at the table.

Sitting there, taking my time, enjoying my breakfast, I'm thinking that with all this in front of me, I'm sure glad there's no PT today, 'cause I would never make it, for sure.
Few copies of the Army Times, so I grab one and read through it as I finish up, then I take my tray over to the side sink window and the fella there takes it from there. I grab another cup of coffee on the way back to the table and as I start to sit down, they bring out the real meal - a big hot pan of creamed chipped beef, and a high pile of toast, and I realize that I am still hungry? Yep, still hungry, and I can skip lunch today if I want to, and I don't have anything to keep me from enjoying that, so I get back in the line and slide another tray up to the SOS and I put down two pieces of toast and the cook's helper ladles out the good stuff, and I thank him, then walk back to my table. By then there are a few others there, and I settle in to some serious eating and we talk a bit. Going to be a big parade in town later and anyone who wants to take part in it gets Friday off. That sounds interesting, but I'm gonna pass on it. I've done my share of marching, and I'll let the youngsters (??? - hell, I'm only 22, myself!) have their fun. Friday doesn't do much for me, anyway.

Yeah, this is a day to remember good things, like early morning SOS and hot, strong coffee, and eating breakfast in civvies and not being in a hurry. Wish I knew how to make SOS, 'cause today I'd do it. There are certain times in life when it just seems to be the right thing to have.


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