Restaurant Review

Veterans day had me thinking about army food.  I’m probably the lightest-weight veteran you can possibly be – 6 years in the National Guard – one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer.  I got more from the military than it ever took from me.  This was before we rotated reserve units through deployments in our blood soaked occupations of the Middle East.  Handing out death and watching it take your friends does change people, and I’m sorry we’ve asked so many of our soldiers to carry that weight the rest of their lives.  Thank you to everyone that bears that burden.  Anyway, reservists have to do basic training and specialty training with the regular army.  I was a medic with a combat unit, and my specialty training was at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio, Texas.  Serving in the military can be an emotional drain, but food has always provided me a bit of a respite from life’s trials.  At Fort Sam Houston, I looked forward to the food.  Breakfast has always been my favorite meal (well, second after cheap happy hour appetizers), and they had these amazing tacos at breakfast.  These weren’t breakfast tacos, but the real deal you’d find at a taco stand in Mexico.  In our mess hall, the cooks were mostly Mexican, and day after day they created darn near the best tacos I’ve ever had.  I ate them every day.  They always had two different meats, and they’d only give me two tacos, and I always had one of each kind of meat.  It made my day, and I always let them know it.  It strained my rather limited Spanish, but I did my best.  I’d love to go to that mess hall in Texas and see if they still serve tacos for breakfast.  It is funny the things we miss.  I remember the friends I made in the Army, a few good meals, and the fatigue of long hours with little sleep.  My military stint was also the first job I had that was open to me, but not to everyone.  Back then, homosexuals were barred from service.  And women were barred from being combat medics, so I had a job only available to heterosexual men.  It was really the start of my understanding the privilege I was born into.  When you combined my GI Bill and salary, for a weekend of work, I earned about $750 in today’s dollars.  That was a help during college, and for many of my classmates, I’m sure that would have made the difference between completing their major and dropping out of school so they could pay their bills.  I’m glad many of those unnecessary barriers to service are being broken down.  We should all have the opportunity to serve.  If not for God and County, then for the joy of those amazing tacos.

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