By Sam L
My father, at the time, was in a historical detachment in the National Guard, who just got back from his first-ever deployment. For those not in the know, a historical detachment doesn't go around shooting guns, but rather cameras. He was on some post-deployment R&R at a civilian campground in Fort McCoy with his Sergeant, my godfather. A kid comes through the camp, knowing my godfather, Norm, tangentially through some family friends, the Hallorans.
The kid asked Norm if he had any mustard for hot dogs. He didn't, but my dad did, and he gave it to the kid. After the kid left, my dad became worried. "Lone kid at a camp? Better make sure he's not a runaway." So he and Norm followed the kid to their camp and found the kid was fine, he really was asking for mustard for a hot dog with his family and friends. My father introduced himself, saying he was just worried about the lone kid at a camp, and that kids mother came by and thanked him for being so kind as to worry about a strangers kid. They got to talking, and my father mentioned he just got back from Iraq, having taken many pictures of destroyed tanks. The mother, being a military intelligence officer, offered to look at the pictures and let him know what the blackened hulks of steel were.
My father said: that'd be cool, can I have some hot dogs too? Got any relish to go with them?
The mother, to this day, maintains my father tells the story as she "pranced off like a gazelle or a doe in the woods, all for my relish" though my father always just laughs at the assertion. They talked some more, and then some more, and then, after a short years courtship, marriage at the small chapel at the Sheboygan County Fairgrounds, and a brief ten month waiting period, I was born.
My parents met over hot dogs, an open fire, pictures, and relish. But, most importantly, my brother forgetting to pack the mustard.