Roosters for Lunch
On a chilly November morning, it did not take much imagination to picture the troop trains, pulled by coal-powered steam engines. Here they refueled and brought on water: Aberdeen, South Dakota, was the natural hub. It was a vibrant railroad city, with travelers headed to both coasts, as well as north and south.
My grandpa enlisted in the military in December 1941. Tojo had set Pearl Harbor on fire and National Socialism was on the march in Europe. The Army shipped grandpa and hundreds of thousands of other farm boys from the Upper Midwest south to boot camp. Along the way, grandpa most likely stopped in Aberdeen. Fourteen rail lines intersected there and ran to every point of the compass.
Aberdeen was about as far from the war as a place could be, but the residents of the Mount Rushmore State city knew they could touch the lives of soldiers who would soon fight and die in places like Normandy and the Philippines. Every day, the troop trains rolled in and it was not long before the locals organized an effort to make sandwiches, which they passed out with chocolates and a glass of milk.
What Aberdeen had a lot of was pheasants. Someone decided it would be a good idea to make pheasant sandwiches.
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