Thursday, September 27, 2018

My “Military” Faux Pas … 1959

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.

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 NCmountainwoman said...

My military faux pas involved me and my future sister-in-law. We had visited my brother at training camp and as we were leaving the base, we noticed they were getting ready to lower the flag. So we pulled into the circle to watch. A very stern and very large military officer came to the car door and announced, "Ladies. It is customary to get out of the car and stand when Old Glory is raised or lowered." Needless to say, we quickly complied.

8:28 AM  
Blogger Marie Smith said...

Good for you, Ginnie! That hot dog must have tasted wonderful after that detention!

8:53 AM  
Blogger Arkansas Patti said...

Love that you had the courage to just get up and leave. Not being invited back again had to be a big plus.

10:58 AM  
Blogger possum said...

Proud of ya, Ginnie! Way to go!

4:10 AM  
Blogger Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Good for you, Ginnie, to get up and go.

7:13 PM  
Blogger Joared said...

Wonderful that your husband supported your assertion of baby’s best interests! Love it!

10:04 PM  

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