HIGHLANDERS BLUSH PLAID
The scene was Somerset Massachusetts, Summer of 1990, in the midst of the Crown Forces Camp. Our company had a fine and festive gathering in progress centered around our tents, though far from any campfire. As such the scene was dark, but for the occasional lights of cars from the paved highway running with a dubious authenticity between the camps.
Myself and a few others were standing at the end of the tent row jesting about the questionable qualities of the current farbfest between taunts of our young runner, Zach, a lad of some thirteen years age. As is often the case, a fellow soldier soon strolled up to us and gave greeting. It was a Highlander, and if the camp we stood in was not well lit, this Bonny Lad was doing his best to make up for it with his own personal luminescence. Wobbling ever so slightly and tightly clasping a mug of something cold and wet, he engaged us in a brief but happy conversation on matters of no great import. We were men in the, um, wilderness about men's business and all was well.
Things became somewhat complicated, however, when our new friend spied amongst us a young lovely. Women, young pretty women, and alone at that, can be a rarity in the Camps and ought not to be ignored. Gathering up his disheveled self, he presented a figure gallant as he spake, "My Lady!"
As the words left his lips he reached out and snatched, ever so gently, the hand of our young Zach who, of tender age and in untucked blouse, sported a less than masculine figure in the poor light I shall not soon forget the look in the lads eyes as Highlander, ever the gentlemen and ever amorous, bent over Zach's hand and pressed it with beery lips ! What an event for a young man of thirteen, embarrassed by his very existence, to be kissed by a man in kilt ! Such a look of horror I had never seen.
Yet the same look sprang forth anew as our brave Scotsman slowly noticed something was awry. Rising unsteadily from his bow, his eyes grew from sodden slits to widened pools of shock as the manner of things became apparent. This was no wench! His face flushed a color to match his tartan as his mouth opened and closed, uncertain of its function.
Well all other experience aside, it cannot be said that the Highland Regiments know not the meaning of the word retreat. Muttering something which sounded much like the Gaelic for "Runaway!", our Hero pivoted about and fled the field as quickly as his stagger could take him. To our merit, we laughed not till he had been swallowed by the night, and even then our laughter was not mean spirited. It was but a funny moment, something that could happen to any of us. We laughed and talked again of the battles fought and of those to come.
And yet I still feel sorry for poor young Zach. The Highlander never even called him. The Dog.
- J Justin, 1NJV
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