Any good Texas A&M event begins with a barbecue, and a solemn occasion like Aggie Muster is no exception. The London A&M Club met yesterday for Muster in Kensington Gardens on an exceptionally beautiful day. The barbecue came from a London restaurant that, I must say, has better barbecue than anything I ever had in DC.
We were the newbies in England. We met a couple here on a US/British army exchange 3 months from the end of their two-year appointment. The organizer is an accountant who has been in London for 7 years. Another woman is in her second year of working for an international PR firm. Then there were people who made quite a trek for the event. A mechanical engineer came in from Lille, France. A legal consultant who splits his time between Lisbon and Dublin flew to London because there was no Muster in Dublin.
Our Muster speaker was Don Powell, who we all knew in one way or another. (dp cartoons, the Texas Aggie Band Show, etc.) His wife Mary Jo, who worked for University Relations for forever, was with him. They're in week 4 of a 6-week European tour. They've both committed their lives to A&M and it was fun to have them there.
We met some great people, and by the end of it, I was somehow committed to hosting a punting trip this summer in Cambridge. We shared some Aggieland stories, kvetched about the size of closets here, complained about washers and dryers (or lack thereof), and shared favorite pubs.
And we also called the Muster. Every April 21, Aggies gather, have a barbecue, reminisce about A&M, and remember their fallen comrades. As the roll call is read, we answer "here" for that person, and light a candle in remembrance. Among the names called at the London Muster were the six Aggies killed in combat in Iraq. And we lit a candle and answered "here" for the people killed this week at Virginia Tech. We hold them all in our hearts and prayers.
Softly call the Muster,
Let comrade answer, "Here!"
Their spirits hover 'round us
As if to bring us cheer!
Mark them 'present' in our hearts.
We’ll meet some other day
There is no death, but life etern
For our old friends such as they!