Out of Step

Dear Peg and Friends,
I hadn’t been in the services very long, before I realised that you could actually tell the day of the week it was, by what fare you were being served. Sunday mid-day, well that was a pork roast, cold cuts Sunday night. Wednesday silverside, and so on. I don’t know the exact costing, and how much money that was allocated per person per day, that the cooks were allowed. But they were starting out with the best of food, which lost little in the cooking. I suppose this was because of the large number of hot meals they were expected to turn out on a regular basis. Sure it was hard to maintain the bench mark being set by the hotels, the only other player in the business of cooking and serving, large numbers of hot meals. But they had been in this business for a long time. Comparing the two, the Hotels will always have the edge, as they tended to cook their food in smaller batches.
As I mentioned, Sunday night was usually cold cuts. A green salad and fried potatoes, a very simple, but nourishing meal. I should say also at this stage. It doesn’t pay in the services to be different, or even stand out. Do so, sure as sure, you will be got at. We had one fellow serviceman who was extremely fussy about his food, and he must have been hell to live with. It was most noticeable with lettuce. You couldn’t help but observe whenever it was served, he carefully, and minutely examined every leaf, turning it over and over, before he actually popped it into his mouth. We all watched this with pantomime with interest. One night when things were slow, it was decided to teach him a lesson. Most of the platoon made an early trip to the shed where the lettuce were stored and washed. We searched and pre loaded each leaf on our plates, with all the wild life we could find. After looking through a couple of crates of lettuce, we each had about a dozen or so large fat slugs and some earwigs all sitting on our lettuce, but initially concealed. We let the victim finish his meal, then proceeded to discover the ‘live stock’ on each of our plates, commenting all the time, ‘How bad it was’. ‘Wouldn’t you think they would be more careful in the preparation of our food’? ‘Disgraceful’.
Autosuggestion is a powerful medium, before we had finished discovering our carefully gathered treasure trove. He had left the table and rushed outside to be ill. Young men are a cruel bunch, but there is a lesson here. Make sure that you are never different, or stand out in any way.
One of the Officers in our Company had a ‘Bat Man’. He got this job by default as he wasn’t much use for anything else. No matter how carefully his duties were explained to him, he always seemed to start each week off, from the back foot, and never seemed to remember anything about the previous week. This was partially explained, when one weekend, the Military Police called and advised the Officer in question, that they had picked up his Bat Man. ‘Drinking after hours’, at a local Hotel. ‘Absent without Leave’ was his crime, further more, now they had him locked up in the slammer. A small problem immediately reared it’s head while they were explaining all this to his astonished Officer, what they had done. He just looked up, pointed to the man in question, diligently going about his duties, only three feet away, on the other side of the tent, wondering what the hell they were all talking about.
It turned out that he had a brother, who was his spitting image. Now it was the MP’s to have the red faces. It was also clear that these two fellows had been swapping duties, but it was something that was almost impossible to prove. Sometimes it’s easier if you just stay in bed.
We had another misfit, nothing wrong with his soldiering. He could do all basic things required of him, but he couldn’t march in step. He also seemed to move his arm and leg, on each side at the same time, together, but not alternately as everyone in the world seems to do. As well together with his strange gait, when marching, he was always out step. Six or seven hundred soldiers all in step. But this one uncoordinated helpless fellow, with his quaint leg and arm in cadence, was soon able to fix that. He quickly brought the whole column into disarray. He nearly drove our Colonel and his Officers crazy. Would you believe they actually invalided him out of the Regiment. But in my opinion marching in step has little to do with the winning Wars. Possibly the fellow was Autistic or something. But back then they didn’t have fancy names for folk who were different.
Often long after the War. I often used to see this man, hurrying home from work. Yes he could hold down a job. But still bobbing along with his strange gait, and I had a quiet smile to myself about the profound effect he had on the Army.
Love to all from Christchurch,
Wally
I hadn’t been in the services very long, before I realised that you could actually tell the day of the week it was, by what fare you were being served. Sunday mid-day, well that was a pork roast, cold cuts Sunday night. Wednesday silverside, and so on. I don’t know the exact costing, and how much money that was allocated per person per day, that the cooks were allowed. But they were starting out with the best of food, which lost little in the cooking. I suppose this was because of the large number of hot meals they were expected to turn out on a regular basis. Sure it was hard to maintain the bench mark being set by the hotels, the only other player in the business of cooking and serving, large numbers of hot meals. But they had been in this business for a long time. Comparing the two, the Hotels will always have the edge, as they tended to cook their food in smaller batches.
As I mentioned, Sunday night was usually cold cuts. A green salad and fried potatoes, a very simple, but nourishing meal. I should say also at this stage. It doesn’t pay in the services to be different, or even stand out. Do so, sure as sure, you will be got at. We had one fellow serviceman who was extremely fussy about his food, and he must have been hell to live with. It was most noticeable with lettuce. You couldn’t help but observe whenever it was served, he carefully, and minutely examined every leaf, turning it over and over, before he actually popped it into his mouth. We all watched this with pantomime with interest. One night when things were slow, it was decided to teach him a lesson. Most of the platoon made an early trip to the shed where the lettuce were stored and washed. We searched and pre loaded each leaf on our plates, with all the wild life we could find. After looking through a couple of crates of lettuce, we each had about a dozen or so large fat slugs and some earwigs all sitting on our lettuce, but initially concealed. We let the victim finish his meal, then proceeded to discover the ‘live stock’ on each of our plates, commenting all the time, ‘How bad it was’. ‘Wouldn’t you think they would be more careful in the preparation of our food’? ‘Disgraceful’.
Autosuggestion is a powerful medium, before we had finished discovering our carefully gathered treasure trove. He had left the table and rushed outside to be ill. Young men are a cruel bunch, but there is a lesson here. Make sure that you are never different, or stand out in any way.
One of the Officers in our Company had a ‘Bat Man’. He got this job by default as he wasn’t much use for anything else. No matter how carefully his duties were explained to him, he always seemed to start each week off, from the back foot, and never seemed to remember anything about the previous week. This was partially explained, when one weekend, the Military Police called and advised the Officer in question, that they had picked up his Bat Man. ‘Drinking after hours’, at a local Hotel. ‘Absent without Leave’ was his crime, further more, now they had him locked up in the slammer. A small problem immediately reared it’s head while they were explaining all this to his astonished Officer, what they had done. He just looked up, pointed to the man in question, diligently going about his duties, only three feet away, on the other side of the tent, wondering what the hell they were all talking about.
It turned out that he had a brother, who was his spitting image. Now it was the MP’s to have the red faces. It was also clear that these two fellows had been swapping duties, but it was something that was almost impossible to prove. Sometimes it’s easier if you just stay in bed.
We had another misfit, nothing wrong with his soldiering. He could do all basic things required of him, but he couldn’t march in step. He also seemed to move his arm and leg, on each side at the same time, together, but not alternately as everyone in the world seems to do. As well together with his strange gait, when marching, he was always out step. Six or seven hundred soldiers all in step. But this one uncoordinated helpless fellow, with his quaint leg and arm in cadence, was soon able to fix that. He quickly brought the whole column into disarray. He nearly drove our Colonel and his Officers crazy. Would you believe they actually invalided him out of the Regiment. But in my opinion marching in step has little to do with the winning Wars. Possibly the fellow was Autistic or something. But back then they didn’t have fancy names for folk who were different.
Often long after the War. I often used to see this man, hurrying home from work. Yes he could hold down a job. But still bobbing along with his strange gait, and I had a quiet smile to myself about the profound effect he had on the Army.
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