Each morning, as we drive into work, the digital 'notice board' that runs around the top of the building on the road side of Camp Mabry displays the latest exhibitions and events at the facility. For the past couple of weeks, I have seen the Veterans' Day World War II re-enactment advertisement, and as we chose against going away for the weekend, I asked Dana if we could make it an 'outing' on Sunday. The Sarge (as I refer to Dana on Veterans' Day) agreed, and we checked the times on the Mabry Website.
It was a beautiful Sunday, with the sun shining first thing, and the temperature hitting mid seventies by noon. We decided to forego lunch and arrived at the Base for the 2pm show. Having been brought up with stories of heroism and glory, told by my father, about his father, who in theory was the greatest soldier that ever put two feet in marching boots, (but in reality, faked insanity to prevent him from enlisting,) and travelling through Europe visiting various battle grounds (not as gruesome as it may seem - history is history, no matter how recent,) I was very much looking forward to the afternoon, with the words, 'We will remember them', ringing in my ears.
After checking out the two camps, the GI's and the Germans, we took our seats on the stands. A uniformed man approached the old fashioned microphone at the same time as a swarm of bees decided they were going stir crazy in the hive, and were going on an outing of their own. The Queen has presumably given them a map, as they were all congregating around a very small space. The 'x' that marked the spot was underneath my seat. Several children were in the audience, including two young teenage boys, accompanied by their parents, who were sitting directly in front of me. My immediate reaction was to move, but that was not possible. Screaming and shouting was my next course of action, with a possible arm flap for good measure, but that was halted as the mother of the adolescents told her children to stop behaving like babies, as they enacted the scene so nearly played by me.
The programme was very well done. The weaponry was interesting. It is not a secret that the German's had a sophisticated arsenal, and given a little more time, things may have been very different. Each time the USA came out with their latest model, the 'German' Captain would come out with something better. It would appear that the 36th Infantry Division, also known as the Fighting 36th, the Panther Division, or the Texas Division, was very active during the two World Wars. Of course, the allies won the re-enactment and we left the area, searching for the exit. I am always a little concerned if I happen to enter a 'strictly no entry' area in normal circumstances, but driving through the gates, assuming we were heading for the freeway, and seeing the additional words, 'keep out', in a Military facility, were enough to send me on to the floorboards of the car. I wouldn't say my screams were completely incoherent, as the words 'get us out of here', sounded very clear to me. I waited for the warning shots, but fortunately, we were given a second chance, and as I emerged from under the seat, Dana had turned the car around and was heading for the way out.
A lot of restaurants were offering complimentary meals for Veterans, and we thought we would take advantage. Before we left the house, Dana was searching high and low for his discharge certificate. 'It's in your wardrobe', I told him. He insisted it was in the spare room cupboard, among the items I had already boxed. I was quite sure I had not seen the files he was looking for, but he was adamant. It is one of life's mysteries as to why, no matter how many times I try, if I unpack a box and then repack, exactly the same way, there is always an item that will not fit! I had to unpack two boxes to convince Dana that the folders were not there. I had to find space in another box for two items! After looking in the downstairs cupboard, hall cupboard and my wardrobe, we found the papers. I am sure I do not need to ask for 'answer's on a postcard' as I am sure that all (women) will know where the papers were eventually found. It was Dana's Day, and I thanked him for his military service....'I told you so', could be saved for another day!
The restaurant we chose was full, and we had not made a reservation, but we were informed that there was plenty of room on the patio. For the first 44 years or my life, it would have been a ridiculous suggestion to eat outside, dressed only in a pair of Capri trousers, and a short sleeved shirt, but here in Austin, the temperature was delightful and we found a nice spot under an umbrella. A young waitress came over and asked if we had any questions. Dana asked if Veterans needed to make reservations, but Millie, our bright young server, informed us, 'certainly not!' The menu for the Sarge, although specially printed for the occasion, was very varied. 'Are you ex-military, ma'am', Millie asked. I smiled and shook my head. 'No, I am not. My paternal grandfather was in Flanders in 1917 and was running towards the German guns, with nothing more than a bayonet. He was one of the few that made it home. My paternal grandfather was slightly younger, but was also running, although it was in 1939, and it was away from the Germans. In fact it was away from everyone, including my grandmother!' Millie smiled politely and gave me a different menu.
Dinner was scrumptious, as was the pumpkin cheesecake (which is Millie's favourite) and the bill gave us even more to smile about. It would appear that Dana's loyalty card had the exact amount of points to cover the difference. We left McCormick & Schmick and the delightful Millie, who had brought me an additional menu so as I could take a picture. Dana mentioned that I wanted it for my blog, and she asked if I would mention her! Hey Millie! (Fortunately, she was adorable, and a great waitress, so I did not have a problem with agreeing!)
We returned home shortly after six. It is always an emotional day, and I salute Veterans both here and at home, my husband included! As the poem says, (Ode of Rememberance by Laurence Binyon,) 'We will remember them', and I realise how blessed I am that my grandfather (maternal) did get to grow old. I spent the evening watching television and planning my next day. As I had not done anything particularly productive in the house over the weekend, apart from the usual Saturday morning chores, I decided to spend my extra day off making my house more presentable. However, as a previous post made very clear, the best plans etc etc. I decided it would not be a bad thing to have a little 'me' time considering the events of the previous week, which will definitely make.....another story.