Decades later, I fondly recall the really fine holiday noon meals every Christmas and Thanksgiving dished out by the chow hall at Hahn Air Base in Germany during three years serving my “friends and neighbors” in the Cold War.
To be fair, and counter the legends about military chow, the food there was rarely poor, and ranged from OK to “pretty good” more days than not. But the cooks turned out a really great spread for the two traditional late year holidays.
Turkey, ham, roast beef, dressing, sweet potatoes, even shrimp cocktail, butternut squash, cold jellied cranberry sauce, pumpkin, apple and mince pie, strawberry the works. And the high point of the day, if you were on duty and had to return in less than an hour to humping a flight line of fighter jets in the snow and/or frigid cold for another four hours (or more} with an M-16 on your back.
The chow hall holiday spread was so outstanding that older, married low ranking enlisted guys who intended to stay in the service (“lifers” we called them} and lived off base “on the economy” in small German towns and and villages would bring their families.
For a nominal fee per head –I’ve forgotten how much — their (sometimes) homely wives and chattering kids could share the great food.
My last Christmas at Hahn, as my luck would have it, I was pulling duty on a day shift in Area 9 (the “special weapons” storage site) and the other guard and I assigned to “the sterile area” were not relieved to go to chow until near the end of the lunch cycle.
Of course, all the turkey white meat, the cranberry sauce and mince pie was gone.
There’s a phrase in bastardized GI German — “mox nix” — that covers the situation:
“It don’t matter.”
It means the same as “S— happens.”