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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So I'm fortunate enough to get home for Thanksgiving for a couple of days.

Spent the morning in the Sgt's and Warrant Officer's mess, ensuring all was in readiness for the Mess dining-in this evening, my long-suffering wife giving me a hand.

Anyways, as I surveyed our arsenal of century old regimental silverware, fine crystal, and portraits of those who have gone before in WWI, WWII, Korea, and yes, Afghanistan, I thought that I am not alone here in being fortunate enough to have more than one family. I could go on a bit about how we can give thanks that others in my and other Regimental families have lost their lives fighting to ensure that we will be with family and friends in peace and security this evening. Suffice it to say, here's my wish that your dinner with your family, be it your kin or your regiment, have all the blessings that family brings.

I also spotted all the different Scotches standing in readiness on the marble shelve behind the bar (about what you'd expect in a Highland regiment mess), and remembered this bit from McAuslan In The Rough by George McDonald Fraser. My great-great -grandfather was the RSM of the Gordon Highlanders during the Second Afghan War and his son the CO of the Gordons during WWI, so I have a bit of an affinity for Fraser's books. Anyways, aside from the prospective on mess life, it kind of reminded me of those who gravitate towards the BHP:

The ignorant or unwary, if asked whether they would rather be the guests of an officers' mess or a senior NCO's, would almost certainly choose the officers'. They might be motivated by snobbery, but probably also by the notion that the standards of creature comforts, cuisine, spirits, and general atmosphere would be higher. They would be dead wrong.

You will get a bit of the old haute monde from the officers in most units, although the barely masked native savagery of the officer class towards each other has a tendency to show through. That would never happen in a sergeants' mess. Sergeants are too responsible. They tend to be older soldiers, with a sense of form and dignity; among officers there is always the clash of youth, age, and ambition, but, with sergeants, you have a disciplined and united front.

And, whereas the provisioning and amenities of an officers' mess are usually in the hands of a president, usually the youngest subaltern, who has had the job forced on him and isn't much good at it, your sergeants look after their creature comforts, with an expertise born of long service in hard times. Wherever you are, whoever goes short, it won't be the sergeants; they've been at the game too long.

Hogmanay apart, we officers never saw inside our sergeants mess ('living like pigs as we do,' said the Colonel, 'it would make us jealous'), so, when the seargeant of the Signals section invited me in for a drink, I accepted like a shot, and, that afternoon, I accompanied him up the broad steps of the whitewashed building, where the sergeants dwelt in fortified seclusion.

I surveyed the various brands on view behind the bar, and decided that the Colonel was right. you would never have seen the like in any officers' mess. There was every Scotch whiskey under the sun. How they managed it in those arid post-war years, I didn't like to think.

Happy Thanksgiving, all!
 

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Wonderful post, Jager. Happy Thanksgiving!
 

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Its been way too long since i was last in the Mess and even longer since I read the McAuslan books.

Thanks for the memories that this post brought back

Happy Thanksgiving to all at home or abroad
 

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Nicely done!
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Wonderful post, Jager. Happy Thanksgiving!
Fraser has a way of leaving you thinking "Ah ha! I've seen that before!". I like his stuff. Sort of like Peter Capstick Hathaway was so very good at capturing the essence of big game in Africa.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Its been way too long since i was last in the Mess and even longer since I read the McAuslan books.
The secret is to endow the Mess with a very elegant beer tankard engraved with your name - one from a tour over in Europe, a classy piece from Germany crafted of pewter and hand fired pottery for example. Needn't have the glass bottom in it unless you fear being tricked into accepting the King's shilling...

When you know that's sitting above the bar in the mess, you go back once in a while even if only to ensure it's still there.

I am given to understand Scotch glasses work equally as well, but in my opinion, the effect of a single Scotch glass simply isn't the same.

In fact, I probably have about a dozen beer tankards calling my name from various and sundry Messes scattered about several countries. Amazing how often you remember while in their general AO and decide to just pop in and see how they're doing.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I fear this means no tequila. :confused::scratch::bawling:
I fear you are probably wrong on that.

In fact, the bottle may well be dusty and untouched, meaning you probably won't run out... unless some Jack was just recently got his third and brought his exuberence, lemons, and salt with him...
 

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The secret is to endow the Mess with a very elegant beer tankard engraved with your name - one from a tour over in Europe, a classy piece from Germany crafted of pewter and hand fired pottery for example. Needn't have the glass bottom in it unless you fear being tricked into accepting the King's shilling...

When you know that's sitting above the bar in the mess, you go back once in a while even if only to ensure it's still there.

I am given to understand Scotch glasses work equally as well, but in my opinion, the effect of a single Scotch glass simply isn't the same.

In fact, I probably have about a dozen beer tankards calling my name from various and sundry Messes scattered about several countries. Amazing how often you remember while in their general AO and decide to just pop in and see how they're doing.
My tankard is ( should be ) behind the bar still - unfortunately a few thousand miles separate us
 
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