Saturday, September 07, 2013

My “Military” Faux Pas … 1959

(Please forgive me for posting another “repeat” … but this horrendous bout of Shingles seems to hang on and my mind and body are still both on hold …)
In 1959 my husband Dick and I were living in NY City when he received a phone call from one of his old National Guard Buddies from Fort Drum. Dick had been the official photographer and driver for a one star General while in service there and it was this man who was “in town for the day” and inviting us to a gathering of the old crew for dinner and a polo match.

We thought it would be fun but Dick warned me that the General could turn into a bit of a jerk if he drank too much. The polo match was held in the massive drill shed of the 7th Regiment Armory on Park Ave. and, although I knew nothing of the rules or who was playing, it was thrilling to watch. The aroma of horses was a little overpowering but I tried to ignore it, knowing that we would soon be having dinner far removed from the smell.

At the end of the game a group of about 20 of us, including the General, made our way upstairs to the very elaborate Board of Officer’s room where we were served drinks. I couldn’t believe how ornate it was…with large framed pictures of famous past Commanders on the walls.

We must have been directly above the horse stalls because the smell was almost as strong in that room as it had been in the shed. It didn’t seem to bother anyone else, but then they weren’t 5 months pregnant as I was !

The evening, and the drinks, continued and the General, who had been very soft-spoken, was getting more rambunctious with each round that was served. I finally nudged a girl next to me and asked if we could suggest that it was time to eat. She was shocked at the question and stated, in no uncertain terms, that when one was in the presence of a General you had to wait until he gave the “command”.

I sat back and tried to listen to the story-telling but I found myself getting really angry. After all, Dick and I weren’t in the Army...why did we have to wait for the all-mighty OK from the General. Without really thinking about it I gave Dick the eye, rose from my seat and, while patting my stomach, I said, “Thanks a lot, folks. It’s been wonderful but this little one is saying it’s time to go home.”

There was a stunned silence and then, bless his heart, Dick rose too. He gave a farewell salute to the General and we left. “We’ll never get invited again,” he said, “but it was worth it...just to see the look on the old wind-bag’s face.” Then he gave me a big hug.

“Dinner out” became two hot dogs from a street vendor and a long walk home...



Blogger Anvilcloud said...

Well, good for you ... and Dick. I hope you feel better soon. Sue is suffering from her first bug of the season. I don't feel great, but it could be the result of yet another poor night. Needless to say, our plans to visit far flung family tomorrow have been put on hold. It's not that I wish my wife ill health, but this development is not altogether disheartening. :)

5:39 AM  
Blogger KGMom said...

Awww, that's a sweet story. And I love Dick's response.

I think you were entirely justified in bringing a close to a windbag speech.

10:49 AM  
Blogger kenju said...

I don't blame you one bit, Ginnie. He was clueless or uncaring not to notice a pregnant woman in the group. Good for you! I probably would not have had the guts to do that, but I admire that you did!

1:37 PM  
Blogger Arkansas Patti said...

You go girl but I am equally impressed with Dick for getting a kick out of it. High ranking officers are too use to being blindly obeyed.
Shingles is a challenge to our ability to stand suffering. Been there and hope you are soon shingle free.

3:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, military discipline isn't for everyone. Don't know that what you did was a faux pas. Generally, military folks understand civilians are different.

Sad to hear about your difficulties with Shingles. You know I sympathize. A miserable thing. Dianne

1:52 PM  
Blogger possum said...

Good for you! Think of the poor fools who had to sit there, not just that night, but time after time while the old fool drank his dinner and blabbered on. Thank god you all were civilians and could do it. You probably were the envy of everyone else at the table.

So sorry the shingles are still so bad.

5:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My father-in-law, the 92-year-old Colonel would probably have been just like the General. He would have apoplexy had you walked out on him like that -- he still would/does.

Good for you and your hubby! I enjoyed the post.

9:52 AM  
Blogger Syd said...

Glad that you took care of yourself. Who wants to listen to a self-centered person drone on and on anyway?

3:49 AM  

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