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Watch the 2024 Worldwide Muster Roll Call for the Absent on Muster Live

Grilling and dominoes by the lake at Robertson Muster

Susan "Sue" Owen '94 July 19, 2019 4:22 PM updated: April 16, 2024 11:13 AM

To highlight the wide range of Aggie Musters, we covered six local Musters in April 2019 for a story in Texas Aggie magazine. Read the series:


Bump over the cattle guard, drive through pastures full of wildflowers, and you arrive at the small lakeside house where the Robertson County A&M Club is holding its 2019 Muster, about 30 miles north of College Station.

Outside, Club members are grilling dozens of seasoned hamburger patties on a massive grill. Tables and chairs are set up on a covered pavilion overlooking the small lake.

Volunteers hand out nametags and collect payments: “You’re about to be in it for the long haul, girlfriend,” says Christan Rawson ’08 as she signs up a new Club member.

On a grill that's made for some serious business, Club members turned out burgers to perfection.

Socializing goes full swing for a good long time before Muster chair Susan Nelson ’90 picks up the microphone to get events started. She apologizes to the crowd for the smaller-than-usual size of the silent auction: “We were all a little busy last week with other events, but we’ll get that together.”

Nine days before, two tornadoes had touched down in Robertson County; in nearby Franklin, 55 homes were destroyed, and recovery work is going full tilt.

Muster is one of the Club’s two major events of the year, though, and plans were already well in hand.

The other big event is a community dance the Club holds every December in Franklin, drawing a crowd of 75 to 100 for country and classic rock. They’ve raised more than $60,000 since 2014, giving about nine scholarships a year to local high school seniors.

Nelson encourages the crowd to volunteer with the Club: “We always need help fundraising for scholarships.”

She adds: “Each of the scholarship recipients had to bring a dessert to get their scholarship, so help yourselves!”

Because some of the families need to leave early tonight, the Muster ceremony begins before the meal.

Traditional readings and poems precede the lighting of candles. Club president Kie Czajkowski '78 says, “In my opinion, this is one of the greatest traditions our university has.”

We sing “The Spirit of Aggieland,” and the yells ring out over the lake. Hugs and a few tears follow. Then we settle into the business of filling our plates, grabbing another beer and finding a place to sit. After dinner, the dominoes come out for a little 42.

Calvert mayor Marcus Greaves ’61 is seated at a table with Norma Jean and George ’63 Stokes. Greaves has been helping with and attending Musters here since the 1980s; the Stokeses retired here recently, but found Musters wherever they went.

“I was in the Air Force for 28 years, and going to these in all kinds of crazy places is interesting,” George says.

“Normally you know most of the Aggies where you’re stationed, because you see their Ring and you introduce yourself. But it makes for a good party.”

Both aspects of Muster— the socializing and the somber side—are important when you’re far away, he says.

“You see the meaning of it when you’re in Germany or Okinawa or Da Nang.”

Marcus Greaves ’61, left, shared a table with George Stokes ’63 and George's wife, Norma Jean.

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