Merry Christmas to all the world over! On this day I would like to especially remember those who serve others especially soldiers away form home but also those who are closer to home be they the police, firemen and EMTs on call today or the people working in restaurants and hotels as the rest of us dine, travel and celebrate.
I will be visiting my Brother's family and witnessing my Nephews First Christmas. As I do my thoughts will be on my Sister's family in Italy were they are welcoming my mice. Truly a joyful Christmas for my family.
Now a little work of fiction describing how the Grand Duke of D'Argent keeps his holiday. (This is loosely based of a tradition of the British army for Christmas I read about in the Book Day of Battle)
The Duke was Dressed in the simple Gray and Purple uniform of an officer of his Guard. This was not the Glittering Colonels uniform he would wear on parade or battle but a plain coat like any young lieutenant might were and it was covered with white apron. There was a very good reason for this one does not wear one best coat when one is working in a barracks kitchen.
Every Christmas, Easter and Feast of Saint Joseph (his patron saint) the Duke and a number of other officers would (with the help of hired chefs if campaigning permitted) prepare and serve the men of the Guard and any regiment that was quartered in the capital(as well as the wives and children of those present)
The Duke traditionally would care the roast and serve a portion to each of the soldiers taking a moment to thank each man for his service, for the hardships he endured for his country and to wish the man good fortune in the year to come.
As the meal wound down men would come to the Duke and air a concern (at least one greedy supplier of rations had be found out this way) or to ask a boon of the Duke (usually a request for leave to care for a loved one or to get married). Some times a soldier would also tell him of a man who was an especially worthy comrade who's dedication and courage had gone unrecognized. The Duke would listen as long as their were men who needed his ear. He would investigate each case as best he could and respond accordingly.
After soldiers of long service would be given awards to denote their service, a white chevron of cloth. Promotions and awards for valor would also be granted. Then the Duke and his officers would with draw and the casks of wine, beer and cider would be brought out and the soldiers would be given leave to entertainer them selves with out the eye of authority upon them (though senior NCO would make sure the party didn't get too out of hand).
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