Thanksgiving Day Memories from a Veteran

It is traditional for my lovely wife, Carol to cook a feast on Thanksgiving for family and friends. I cannot think of a more enjoyable experience than sitting around a warm fireplace, listening to the burning and crackling of wood with family and friends with a nice glass of merlot in hand.

The subject of desserts came up and it gave me pause to reflect back to 1967 when I was in the USAF helping to guard an off site crash of an F 1-11.

The question was put to me as to what is my favorite dessert. I stated, enthusiastically, “Why, German Chocolate Cake, of course!” My wife, quickly replied, “But Larry, you hate coconuts!” True, I do not care for coconuts unless of course served on top of The German Chocolate Cake!

Allow me to explain:

Many of you recall that I spent my time in the USAF as a Sentry Dog Handler, part of their Security Police. Prior to going to Vietnam, I volunteered to help guard an off base crash site where an F 1-11 went down in a farm field somewhere out in the country near Carswell AFB. Fortunately the pilot bailed out and was rescued, but his aircraft made a huge crater in a farm field in the middle of no-where in Texas. It was Thanksgiving and the Air Force asked the Security Police for volunteers to help guard the site through Thanksgiving until they could get the necessary inspectors/officials on site to investigate the cause of the crash and remove the debris.

My dog and I, along with several other members of our squad were transported, what felt like, in the middle of Texas, off the road in some farmer’s cornfield that seemed to go on forever and ever. There were only farmhouses in the area and they were far and few in between. There was a trailer on site that the government put in place to use as a headquarters for the inspectors. We had access to it, but there were no cooking or bathroom facilities. This was truly my first “real” camping experience and I learned from my four-legged companion how to use the outdoors for the “necessary”!

We arrived on Wednesday evening as the sun was setting. No one in sight, except us security people. We worked the next day, through Thanksgiving, wondering about our family and friends back home. Our grunts consisted of whatever mysterious food came from a can. Our canteens were full as there was no running water.

It was a mild day for Thanksgiving. A few clouds overhead. No rain in site. As the sun was nearing to set we observed a crowd of people from the distance walking down the gravel road. At first we thought they were farmers, their wives and a few children just coming over for a quick and curious look. Several of us, my dog, Siam, included, ventured over to act like tuff soldiers and tell them to stay the heck away from the crash site. But as we approached the old wood fence that followed the gravel road, we observed that the farmers dressed in their coveralls and the ladies in their long colorful skirts were approaching us with a different purpose. They were carrying pots of food, still steaming, plastic containers and bags!

They were treating us to a Thanksgiving feast! From over the fence they handed us our surprising meals! Several of my team mates came over from the crash site to help carry the warm food back to camp. We shook their hands and graciously thanked them. Siam didn’t seem to be the least concerned or threatened by their presence. Although trained to attack on command and be suspicious of strangers, he wagged his tail and instantly new they were no threat. As we thanked them and began to walk back to the crash site, a farmer yelled over to me, and his wife handed me, a container with a home made cake, still warm. To my astonishment, it was a German Chocolate Cake! My first one!

Yes, I hate coconuts! But, not on German Chocolate cake! The memories of those kind people feeding us on Thanksgiving Day, for out weighs what my taste buds have to say.

After I told the story, there was a quite hush amongst my family and friends. I knew at that instant what they were thinking. “Wouldn’t it be great to give every soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan a German Chocolate Cake!?”

This coming week, December 5, 2010, the ProNet International Gifts & Scholarships Board of Directors will meet for their annual dinner. We will announce several scholarship awards for several veterans. You can help, by making a small donation to ProNet International Gifts & Scholarships, so we can continue making these worthwhile Gifts and Scholarships to those veterans that truly deserve a German Chocolate Cake and more! Will you help?

Donations can be made on line: http://www.pronetscholarships.org or by mailing your check to the address below.

Checks should be made out to ProNet International Gifts & Scholarships. Your donation is tax deductible as PNIG&S is a 501 (c) (3).

Thanks and good health and peace to all this holiday season!

ProNet Gifts & Scholarships Logo

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