The Waiter At The Camp
By Edgar Albert Guest
The officers’ friend is the waiter at camp.
In the night air ’twas cold and was bitterly damp,
And they asked me to dine, which I readily did,
For at dining I’ve talents I never keep hid.
Then a bright-eyed young fellow came in with the meat,
And straightway the troop of us started to eat.
I silently noticed that young fellow wait
At each officer’s side ’til he’d filled up his plate;
I was startled a bit at the very first look
By the size of the helping each officer took,
And I thought as I sat there among them that night
Of the army’s effect on a man’s appetite.
The waiter at last brought the platter to me
And modestly proper I started to be.
A small piece of meat then I gracefully took;
The young fellow stood there and gave me a look.
‘Better get all you want,’ he remarked to me then,
‘I pass this way once, but I don’t come again.’
I turned in amazement. He nodded his head
In a way that convinced me he meant what he said.
I knew from his manner and smile on his lip
That the rule in the army is ‘no second trip.’
And I thought as he left me my food to attack,
Life gives us one chance, but it never comes back.