Christmas Past

This morning I woke up with the house quiet after a full day of people, fun and gifts.  It did seem that everyone got what they wanted for Christmas and other than burning the garlic mashed potatoes, the meal went off as planned.  I swear I am going to get some serving dishes for the next big meal.  I guess I forgot how quickly the taters, or spuds burn when you add a few touches.  Oh well.

The first Christmas memory I have is going outside on Christmas eve and wondering how Santa could deliver packages without snow.  More years than not, we didn't have snow in Wichita until after Christmas.  I can remember pestering Mom and Dad a lot and they would often let us open one package on Christmas eve.  The next morning it chaos as we opened the rest of the packages and the rest of the day would be spent playing with the new gifts and friends.  There was almost always a big dinner wherever we were and everyone would take an afternoon nap.  

Christmas 1968 was spent in Vietnam and we sat up and played cards in case the Vietnamese failed to honor the cease fire.  My sister sent me a quart of scotch in a flask that has a cleaning product label on it.  I filled a canteen with scotch and water and drank it sitting there playing Rook.  By Christmas., I had been on R&R to meet Barb and soon was to go meet her again in Hawaii.  I had about three months left on my tour and the thing i wanted for Christmas was me out of Vietnam and home.  

Thanksgiving was spent out in the Il Drang valley north west of Pleiku on and operation that was to last about three days.  It really lasted about three weeks and I managed to get scheduled for an in country leave because of it. After New years eve, I went to the R&R Center and asked how I could change the in country R&R to a visit to Hawaii.  The clerk at the desk said all I needed was a slight change on the orders.  He offered a typewriter and some white out and the use of a copy machine.  I didn't think about having a telegram delivered to Barb in San Diego.  I didn't have a phone so all I could do was sent a telegram to have her meet me. 

Some of the most memorable gifts I got for Christmas over the years was my first BB Gun, a new race bike and approval to bring home Rex my companion for many years.  Rex lasted the longest.  He was a Manchester Terrier and his brindle color didn't make him much to look at.  He did have the heart of a lion and a brain the size of a peanut.  He thought he was a big as any dog and he got chewed up many times because of it.  I'm sure that the vet loved that we supported him as much as we did.  He loved me and I loved him.

Most of all, Christmas has always meant spending time with family/  I'm pretty sure that one reason we have a big old living room and dinning room is to display the biggest tree we can find and to host as many of the family as can come over.  10 of us opening presents filled the living room with excitement and wrapping paper.  It looked like the group got what they wanted and lots of KU gear showed up.  I think there were a couple of the KU vs K-State tickets also were shared.  I think we will spend New year's Eve at a game and then the 4th of January, Dave and I will take Kyler and Austen to the big game.  I watched K-State play in the Hawaii Classic last night and they are pretty good.  It will be a good game no matter what.

OH well, Have a Nappy new hear or Happy New Year out there.


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