Not Your Everyday News

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Cavalry chap

Simply a neat day at the restaurant today. I had a visit from Philip, our
resident British gentleman. He came by to give his regrets, that he would
not be able to work tomorrow due to a doctor's appointment that he
needed to keep, for some physical therapy. I asked him if he would like
something to eat; he declined, but said he would gladly have a cup of
coffee. What followed was about an hour long conversation that was
just delightful. Philip is 79 years old....yes, 79, but his mind is years
younger. He came to this country in 1982 (quick math...ok, when he was
55), a few years after he retired from the British army. He had risen to
the rank of major in the cavalry division (have I ever mentioned that
Philip's true passion is horses? If not, well, they are). He had enjoyed
"dabbling" as he put it, in food service and hospitality, oftentimes
setting up big dinners and such for the generals and other higher ups.
He even mentioned that it was very important not to seat a cavalry
man next to an infantry man...."bad blood you know!" So after retiring
from the army, he worked for the food service arm of British Airways,
setting up a lounge/restaurant for 1st class passengers in New York City.
Once he came to the U.S., he traveled quite a bit, eventually meeting
and marrying his current wife, an American lady whom he had met on
the horse circuit that he had gotten involved with. They settled here in
our fair city, but have 2 horses barned in a neighboring county. But
what was really neat about Philip opening up and chit-chatting was
how candid he was about his personal life. His mother had wanted him
to enter the church, and while he entertained the thought briefly, he
declined, admitting (to himself) that the cloth was NOT the life for him,
so it was best to avoid any possible future scandals! And since his father
and grandfather had been army men, he decided to become one too, and
to combine it with his love for horses, joined the cavalry. I asked him if
he ever met Queen Elizabeth II, naturally he said, "oh yes, many a time!"
Of course! He did admit it was meet and greet occasions, handshakes
and bows and all that high brow military stuff. Heck, it doesn't matter,
he met the Queen. Now next time I get into a real conversation with
Philip, I must ask him about his military escapades during WWII, as, if
I am doing the math correctly, he may have been involved in the latter
stages of it. I'll also have to ask him what he thought about Winston
Churchill, the Cold War years from the British point of view, the
revival and growth of post-war Europe....Philip is a walking history
book....good stuff! Of course, the FINE wait staff of the restaurant had
to be catty after Philip finally had his fill of coffee and left. Roxanne
asked me what on earth we had been talking about for so long, and
Tiffany asked if I was trying an Anna Nicole Smith routine!! (and we
know about Ms. Smith, and her penchant for older gents!) I told
you....just catty! I did find it curious that Philip never married while
still in England; he said life in the military wasn't ideal for the married
lifestyle. But as debonair and suave as Philip is now, I can only imagine
him much younger and in uniform, I am sure VERY popular with the
British ladies, handlebar mustache, ascot, and all! I had better quit, I
know Lola will read this, and as she adores Philip, will try to devise a
plan for him to be kidnapped and sequestered in Alaska to entertain
the natives while sitting on her sofa with "her pup"!


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