Old Prince Valiant is leaning towards the porker side!
|A few weeks ago I had the distinct pleasure to be invited as guest speaker to a group of distinguished World War II veterans.
I don't know why I was chosen to do this singular honor, other than the fact that I am also a veteran and I try wholeheartedly to support any and all veteran's causes.
I prepared a speech and was asked by the School Superintendent to keep it short and to the point. I don't normally go by prepared speeches. Too often I lose my place, stumble over the words, or start adding things that are not part of the speech that throws me off kilter.
I prefer to "talk off the cuff" as the saying goes. I feel more comfortable with this method because I'm not restricted to looking at a text. I can also maintain eyeball to eyeball contact with the people I am addressing, and if I just happen to mess up, no one knows about it because it wasn't preordained.
Before I got ready for the presentation, I ran into the superintendent. He advised me that he would be wearing a formal suit and tie but it was up to me how I wanted to dress.
My first thought was to use the KISS principle (Keep-It-Simple-Stupid), and show up with a comfortable pair of dress slacks and fashionable dress shirt because I have always detested having to wear a tie. After I thought about it for a while I realized that this was indeed a special occasion; a formal occasion, and I should dress accordingly.
So, I pulled my "Gomez" suit out of the closet and looked at it. I call it my Gomez suit because it reminds me of the character on the TV comedy "The Adams Family," and I resemble him when I put it on, at least in my mind.
Then, as usual, my brain kicked into overdrive and I started thinking (a dangerous thing for me). I reminded myself that this was a formal occasion for my favorite group of people - Veterans, and I had been specifically invited to address them because I was a member of this proud brotherhood.
I thought, "What the heck!" And after the second heck, I pulled my "Monkey Suit" out of the other closet and hung it up to look at. The "Monkey Suit" is what we Infantry type Army grunts call our Class A Uniform or Dress Blues. In this formal case I pulled out my Dress Blues. Back in my active days when we were invited to attend a formal event at the General's house, we were advised to wear our "Dress Blues and tennis shoes." meaning - BE THERE & BE FORMAL!
So, I shined up the brass (you always shine the brass even if you just shined it the day before), pulled out my old corfram shoes (the kind you don't have to spit-shine), and dug around until I found my bow tie (after 18:00 hours 6 p.m. formal occasions call for the bow tie instead of the long four in hand tie).
Then, with a shrug, a prayer and crossed fingers, I donned the dress blues. Boy! Was I ever relieved. They still fit. They were somewhat tighter than the last time I wore them but I could still breathe (wonders never cease).
Except for my present hairstyle (kinda long for the military) I felt like I was back in the saddle again. Only problem being my mount was carrying a lot more weight (mine).
As it turned out, I was very pleased that I donned my warrior's arraignment for the occasion. I realized once I was there that the old warriors who were being honored that evening preferred to see one of their own standing at the podium as opposed to an old fart in civilian attire leaning towards the porker side.
I also realize that I can consider myself among that group comprised of "Old Warriors" now. You might say old Prince Valiant has added a pound or two (or three).