Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas Memories

Here we are less than a week away from Christmas day and I have not done any shopping per se, just a few little things. I am participating in this Virtual Advent Calendar, which I think is a cool idea and hope I can do this justice.

Being that my father was in the military and we traveled a lot, I was born in Japan, and we have lived in several of the East Coast States as well as Texas and Germany, I can say that Christmas had always been an adventure. One of my earliest memories, although it is more a Thanksgiving/Christmas combined one, is the year my father told us he was going to war; he was supposed to go to Vietnam at the time (I was like 7 and didn't really know all these big names or places). He had already explained to us that this was all bad and that he may not come home for a long time, if at all, and we had said all our goodbyes.

Thanksgiving day, he steps off the plane in Germany (I think he was supposed to rest and switch planes in the area) and was handed new orders. He was to spend time in Germany and the family would be joining withn the next few weeks.

My mom, my two brothers and me had just sat down to Thanksgiving dinner; my mother had already said the blessing and was about to carve the bird (yeah, I was hungry), when the phone rang. It was my father but I wouldn't believe it since he had already told us we may not hear from him for a while. I had a mini argument with him on the phone about him not being my father. My mother finally took the phone from me and when she hung up she was crying. I was mad at tihs man who had made my mother cry. Little did I realize at the time that she was crying happy tears.

So we sit back down to the table and she says the blessing again - I was not wanting this, I wanted to eat. Anyway, after we ate, she explained to us that we were moving to be with my father soon.

Now mind you, we had just moved from West Point, NY to Columbia, SC and still had boxes everywhere. We didn't even get a chance to really unpack before leaving for Germany. We left as soon as the winter break hit and were overseas in time for Christmas.

Germany was an okay place to live - even living on an army base. It was cool because we were pretty self-contained - like a city within a city - we had our grocery store, theater, schools, housing, fresh bread (a local man and his wife brought bread and candies in their station wagon every day), and everything was within walking distance.

Back then, parents trusted us kids to do things on our own, even 7 or 8 year olds. We were allowed to walk anywhere on the base as long as we let our parents or whoever was in charge of us at the time where we were going.

I just remember being thankful that my father didn't have to go Vietnam and that was one of the best Christmases we had.

See you all in the posts - E :)

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