With a lot of personal problems and current events weighing on me, on top of several big changes coming in my life next year, my resolve to make it through the end of the month is wearing thin.
I thought maybe I’d do a bit of self-help psychotherapy and reach for the Bully Beef.
I found a local grocery store that had corned beef (in the classic tins with the little key that you turn) on sale for $3.99, which is a good price where I live ($5.99-6.99 seems to be the norm in this region).
I figure if it felt good to stop and eat something so simple, maybe I could carry that good feeling into a sort of psycho-sacrament where by eating some plain and slightly disagreeable food, I could ground myself and summon my resolve with the simple knowledge that at least I wasn’t going into this hungry.
Maybe that’s what it became to me in Ypres; a sort of communion to myself that somehow always refreshed my body and soul. Or perhaps I’m romanticizing the rather unremarkable stops to eat during extended patrols to suit my needs. Indulge me here.
But the important thing is that while the rest of the world is so different (sometime disturbingly) than the world I knew as John Harris, some things don’t change. The tin design and product are very close to what I would have had with me in the trenches 97 years ago.
To me, that pink slab of crumbly, greasy, salty meat on the plate says “Yes, I can.” It’s a gift from my past life that proves that there is always something familiar and good when the rest of the world’s going to hell around you.
I’m thankful that I’ve found a way to make these memories work for me for once. I just hope I can keep this up.