“Kid, when I tap my glass, you swallow an oyster. Got it?”
When I was nine my grandparents brought me along to a formal dinner at the home of General Bradley and his wife Kitty. My grandmother had been friends with Kitty and Omar Bradley separately and introduced the two of them. It was a magic bit of matchmaking and from what I know, Mitzi was also in their wedding party. The two couples, my grandparents and the Bradleys remained friends for decades.
I think it’s fairly safe to say that not too many kids have met a 5 star General but it was pretty clear to me from the outset that he was a man whose word was to be followed – just like the entire ground forces did during WWII when he was in command.
When we were brought in for dinner I was seated to his right – an honor and a curse as I was to discover. Oysters were served.
Of course, under normal circumstances there was no way I would have eaten one oyster, much less half a dozen. But the General said to me in his gruff voice, “Kid, when I tap my glass, you swallow an oyster. Got it?”
Loud and clear, sir. Of course, I didn’t say that or salute, but I did do exactly as he said. I would drop an oyster in my mouth, General Bradley would tap his glass, and gulp, down it went. Thanks to him I ate each and every slimy oyster just like all the adults at the table.
To this day, I thank General Bradley for getting me through that ordeal with care and respect. Not like I had a choice, of course. You don’t say “No” to a 5 star General!
General Bradley’s biography:
Omar Bradley: General at War
Copyright Alicia Mayer 2012.