Monday, December 25, 2006

Ghost of Christmas Past

I think we all have certain memories of Christmas over the years. Today I’m just reminisce and share them with everyone.

Let me first start with my home growing up and the appropriate starting place is the hunt for the perfect Christmas tree. This was done the first week in December, our family would all hop in the car and drive to at least 3 lots sometime returning to the same one a couple of times. Finally once Dad made his decision and Mom approved we’d take it home. It had to have perfect classic shape, strong branches with plenty of spacing between. It would then sit on the back porch for a week or so in a bucket of water until it was time to bring it in for decorating.

Lights on the tree were always colored, but all the outdoor lights dad would use had to be clear. He felt that colored lights outside would not let the Christmas stand out. It would just blend in and he wanted that contrast. This is also the only time that the flag would come down off the pole in front of the house. This would make room for the lights dad hauls up. These lights would form a sort of Christmas tree and look pretty good from a distance. But man they are a pain in the ass to put up. They would always get tangled and you would spend hours separating them and getting them tied off.

Now as I got older and moved away from home I found some new traditions of my own. The tree wasn’t as important. Though we did have one in the barracks my roommate and I had the small 2-foot tree that we would appropriately decorate with beer bottle caps. We would even venture out to find new and interesting beers with cool caps. Another one I was introduced to was in Hawaii myself and friends would go play a round of golf on Christmas morning. Best part about that was Tee times were quick and there really wasn’t much of a crowd. But that only last for five years then I was transferred to San Diego, damn Navy.

The Navy is full of traditions such as decorating the vessels at Christmas. But have you ever tried decorating a Submarine?? They are not the easiest all of the edges are curved for the most part and it’s hard to get anything to stay attached. During this time in the navy was one of the oddest events. We patched and rigged the underwater communication system to play Rudolph into Pearl Harbor. I don’t know if anyone heard it but really does sound funny through that system. We did get into some trouble but the duty officer had a sense of humor and we didn’t get busted or anything just a scolding. My time in the Navy also was one of my worst Christmas ever I spent it at boot camp in Great Lakes, IL. First off it had to have been one of the coldest Christmas ever not to mention our company commander was single, an asshole and kind of a masochist. He had our company doing calisthenics until it felt like our limbs were going to fall off.

During my time in the Navy I came to enjoy a custom that ended when I moved to Atlanta. My friends and I called it Mid-night Mess, it was a take off on Mid-night Mass, only here we went out and had a grand ole time partying it up. No matter what city I was in we were always able to find a bar open and friends share a few laughs with. These are some of the fonder memories I have and kind of miss. Today everyone always seems to have other plans and just hard to get people together at the same time. It was just kind of nice to unload and let loose from all of the pressures of the holidays and the year. Maybe another year I’ll be able to revive this tradition and have good times with old friends.

Merry Christmas all and may you enjoy your holiday traditions.
May there be Peace on Earth.
Robbie

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