There I was savoring the best breakfast I’d ever had. I stood in freezing cold weather, rain dripping off the bill of my cap into a soggy, green mess that was intended to resemble scrambled eggs. I don’t remember much about that breakfast, other than it was fabulous. Scrambled eggs never tasted so good. They were a pale, battleship grey, snot green color heaped in a lump on the cardboard tray that held a white, glutinous mass of grits and some rehydrated shreds of potato nested in the corner. There may have been some cold white bread with imitation butter-flavored oil painted on one semi-toasted side. If it was a good day, then thick white gravy with slugs of some type of meat, usually hamburger and sometimes corned beef that was called Shit on a Shingle, or just SOS. I don’t remember the components so clearly, but I do recall, with that deep down recollection that only a memory associated with a distinct emotional experience will create, my utter joy and gastronomic ecstasy of that breakfast. I’ll just assume that SOS was slapped on that grey cardboard tray as well.
In February 1985, I was a brand spanking, newly minted, Second Lieutenant and it was almost the end of a long week in the field during my Military Police Officers’ Basic Course. After five or six freezing nights, sleeping barely at all in the woods of Fort McClellan in that Alabama winter, those eggs were a thing of beauty and oh so warm. Barely tepid, yet the steam rising as I breathed into the crystal air, tepid resulted in an enveloping river of warmth with each bite spooned down the gullet. They were the best eggs I’d ever eaten.