VETERANS

A meal of appreciation

December 12, 2012 

Now that all the hullabaloo, sales, etc., related to remembering the veterans of all wars on Veterans Day have expired, I would like to relate the story of one more demonstration of the deep respect Southerners have for all vets.

The southern states seem to truly remember and respect the vet and what he or she may have sacrificed for the love and protection of the people of the United States of America.

It was already after 8 p.m. when my wife of 51-years decided she wanted to eat at our favorite restaurant, Red Lobster. Despite my stated reluctance to go out that late, I gave in and we headed there.

As usual, we had to wait a short while for a seat because it is a favorite for so many diners. The only sign that I was a veteran of WWII was my cap.

Red Lobster was offering any vet a choice of several of its top level appetizers at no charge to any vet who entered. We did not have to tell the smiling, very polite, young man who was our waiter; he simply served us with great dexterity and care.

We proceeded to eat a very expensive meal of shrimp, lobster and rice pilaf. No one can enjoy such a delicious meal that included all types of shrimp and lobster and the most delicious of salads any more than my wife and me.

Now it came time for the bill. Of course we knew it would be a very expensive one, therefore we were shocked, stunned, floored when our waiter said it had been taken care of. He was adamant about not telling us who had paid for our extremely expensive dinner, and it became even more of a shock when he told us that it included my wife’s meal also.

Now I knew that many other restaurants had offered a free meal to any and all vets but they never included the wife’s meal – who had to pay the full cost for her meal. Then another shock: – the waiter even refused the large tip my wife offered. He insisted it was all taken care of as a warm thank you to a veteran. As we sat absorbing the shock, it became even more of a surprising situation; the persons or people who paid us this deep, remarkable respect could not have known that Nov. 11 is my 91st year on earth.

It was supposed to have been a birthday gift from my wife.

Instead it had become, to us, a lifelong memory of a deep and lasting respect many people, especially Southerners, have for the veterans of all wars.

Thank you all once again for a never-to-be-forgotten day in our lives, nor will we forget the generosity and show of deep respect for veterans of all wars.

The writer lives in Conway.

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