Dining With the General
I made the 4th Infantry Pistol team through hard work and some natural talent.
When our team made it to the all Army pistol matches the 4th Division General made a rare but brief appearance at the team's pistol range. He looked us in the eye and said “Win and you WILL be rewarded. I suggest you don’t find out what happens to losers.” He turned and left.
I worked HARD to be the best on the “team”. Not just because of the implied threat, but because I had found a safe home in the Army. Living with a bunch of guys who I seriously wanted to kill was very hard on me. I grew up with few social skills and never had or wanted a friend while in the Army. My life on the team was safe because I enjoyed high status as the best marksman.
To make a long story short, I won the Grand Aggregate score and a bunch of first place trophies. One reward was dinner with the General at the General Walker Hotel.
I was measured for a dress blue uniform and my Captain and had a formal dinner with me and a few others to teach us how to eat in a formal setting. You have to understand that I grew up thinking that all I needed to eat anything was a knife and my hands. The Captain was very nervous about me but had to let me go because I was being honored as the top marksman. Basically, he made me promise that I would watch his every move and only do as he did.
Everything went find until the steaks and stuff were served. There was a pile of white things next to the steak that looked like rice to me. I took a large fork full and put the whole thing in my mouth. I found out later that it was raw German HOT horseradish. I felt like one of those cartoon caricatures who just had a felt a big Ka-boom go off in there mouth.
Fortunately, I did/do have a high tolerance for discomfort and was able to appear like nothing had happen. I was just sweating a lot more then every one else. Yes, I have loved horseradish every since.