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I’ll Be Home for Christmas…

21 Dec

I just happened to remember a Christmas that really made me feel like shit (before that other thing happened).  So, I’m in the Air Force and stationed in Merced, CA, which is in the San Joaquin Valley – good wine country, farming, that kind of stuff.  Cinnamon can tell you about how you wind up at a particular base but, shit, I mean, it’s bad enough I had to spend the summer in Texas and then keep the swelter going in Mississippi… but you just fucking sent me to where?  Fuck, I wanted Dover AFB so I could be close to home!

She’ll confirm that if you tell them that – and they do ask what three bases you’d prefer to go to – you’ll most likely get sent as far away from your preferred area as possible – on purpose.  I was bummed out that I didn’t get DAFB but, hey, I didn’t get Elmendorf – that’s in Alaska and not a fun place to be or so we heard.  I actually went there once but that’s something different.

Anyway, I’m in California and getting adjusted as best as possible.  I wound up having Thanksgiving dinner with my commanding officer and his family – his wife introduced me to Waldorf salad, that wonderful, delicious thing; who knew apples and mayonnaise went together! – and while I felt kinda out of place, I had a good time… and made a pig out of myself with the Waldorf, too.  But now, Christmas time is coming and everyone’s making plans to go home and I’m really planning to fly back east and be with my family… except something happened and all leaves were cancelled – I was stuck there.

Word’s going around that whatever caused us to go change DEFCON – DEFence CONdition – was going to be lifted and leaves would be good to go… but it never happened; not only that but we were restricted to base because we were in that “nobody gets in, nobody leaves” state and, yep, I was on the base when the shit hit the fan.  Word was this was really a drill, like many of the others we had in SAC but it was being kept long because we, as an entity, was lacking in some areas… even though we passed our IG inspection with flying colors (Cinn knows how much fun those are).

Flash ahead to Christmas Eve.  I’m now officially homesick – a first for me, too – and, fuck, I’m down in the dumps ’cause I can’t go home but I can’t leave the base either… and it’s raining like a motherfucker, to boot.  Bad enough having to deal with fog so thick at times that you literally couldn’t see your hand in front of your face… but it also rained so bad we’d see birds going by in rowboats and umbrellas.  Oh, and it’s cold, like in the 40’s cold.

Because I had fucked up and left home from leave en route to California – and left my fucking pay and medical records sitting on the counter, I didn’t have my regular pay and wouldn’t get it until – get this – Dover AFB sends them to where I was.  That was dumb; I was minutes from boarding the plane and I get called all the way back to the ticket counter for a phone call – what the fuck?  It’s my mother and she’s asking me about this long blue tube sitting on the counter in the kitchen…

Anyway, I didn’t think I could feel any lower; stuck on the base, no money (that emergency shit they give you wasn’t worth it), it’s cold and raining… but I’m in a phone booth – yeah, a real phone booth – that was leaking like a sieve and calling home collect to let them know that, nope, I won’t be coming home.  I had forgotten about the three hour time difference so when I called my mom’s house, the party was going full swing – and it was loud, too!

Man, I heard all that laughter and merry-making… and I felt like my dog just died… and I didn’t have a dog.  Mom answers the phone; the operator’s doing the “Will you accept…” thing – and she’s laughing and giggling like she’s teenager as she accepts the charges… and I wanted to cry so bad it wasn’t funny.  I think I did start crying because, of course, she’s telling me that everyone’s there, including my fiancee and our son and how much fun they’re having.

Man, talk about feeling dejected?  I thought hearing their voices would make me feel better but the more I talked to them, the harder it was raining until I couldn’t even see out of the booth!  Mom takes the phone from my fiancee and, instead of saying some mother-like things that would ease this ache in my heart, she says, “Well, okay, I’m gonna hang up – we’re getting ready to put the star on the tree!  Take care!  Love you much!”

Click.

Fuck.  And, oh, yeah, it’s raining harder now; the street has turned into a fucking river and, well, shit, I guess I’ll see if I can get to the dorm without drowning but, with the way I was feeling, drowning wasn’t a bad idea.  To make matters worse, I’m in a booth far from my dorm – the one closest to it was busted so now I’m walking in this freezing monsoon and to say I was soaked doesn’t even cover it.

My secretly gay roommate wasn’t there; he got caught outside when the lock down took place so I’m in this empty room, soaked to the bone and now, water dripping and pooling all over the place that I’m gonna have to clean up and I can’t even have sex with him to make me feel a little better – fuck!  How can this get any worse?

It can get worse when the SP’s come banging on your door and telling you they have orders to come get you and bring you to your squadron area; no, we don’t know shit so don’t ask us shit – just get your fucking gear and let’s go… before we have to make you move faster!  Ah, life in the Strategic Air Command and part of that command that involves B-52’s…

Come to find out that it was a drill after all and, oh, yeah, one our base commander said that he thought about not calling at all because of the holidays – but he obviously didn’t.  I spent Christmas day on board a KC-135, armed to the teeth, and one that was really flying around in really big circles and refueling B-52’s – that is so fucking awesome to see, by the way – and, shit, I was catching a cold from being out in the damned rain!  By the time we got back to base, I was running a temperature and trying to cough up everything I owned.  I was ordered to the base hospital to get checked out – damn near had pneumonia, they told me, and now I gotta spend three or four days with them to make sure I really don’t have it and, oh, yeah, by the way, “Merry Christmas – and this shot I’m gonna give you won’t hurt… much.”

I was as sick as the dog I didn’t have and now bombed out of my skull with all those nice drugs they were giving me – but they did give the patients a rather nice Christmas dinner with all the trimmings, too… no Waldorf salad, though.  Of course, I was so sick and/or full of groovy drugs that I yakked it all back up… which got me another two days in the hospital.

Merry Christmas my left nut…

 
6 Comments

Posted by on 21 December 2011 in Life, Living and Loving

 

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6 responses to “I’ll Be Home for Christmas…

  1. mysterycoach

    21 December 2011 at 06:51

    ooooh … my goodness.

    Like

     
  2. John Wilder

    21 December 2011 at 09:39

    I feel your pain brother, I am spending Christmas alone this year
    John

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  3. totsymae1011

    21 December 2011 at 22:35

    Geeeez…pneumonia and no party where your mom just goes Click? I know it’s not funny but in retrospect, it is kinda funny, yeah? I could hear the party going on and I remember those phone booths on post.

    Christmas can be a lonely time. It all depends, too, on what one was accustomed to as a kid. At 20-something, you just don’t grow out of it either. Now, I just want peace and quiet.

    Hope this is a better Christmas for you. I know you just passed a significant day. Stay bundled up. That cold weather’s a booger.

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    • kdaddy23

      21 December 2011 at 23:07

      Yeah, Totsy – in retrospect, I can look back and laugh my ass off, especially at my memory of standing in that damned phone booth, getting rained on despite it being an enclosed booth. Mom always used to say that when we were down in the mouth, we looked like Sad Sack… and boy, did I feel like that! See, this Christmas, if it rains, my ass will be in the house looking outside and laughing at all the people who walk their dogs; no sadness, no nightmares, and definitely no swipe at pneumonia! Oh, and no phone booths, either, not that I’ve seen one around here… but that’s why I have an Android cell phone, too!

      Yep, growing up, Christmas was always a blast even if “Santa” was a little light with the presents (but that’s why you have grandparents). Then, with my kids being all little, it’s meet at Mom’s, bring the kids, and let’s party like it’s illegal! Sure, there were a few years when me and my family couldn’t be there but it was no biggie; the kids were older, I usually wound up being on-call for the week of Christmas, stuff like that and, eventually, you just kinda don’t want to be bothered with it but, still, it’s good to see all the little grand nieces and nephews and to be with the family for a few.

      But Christmas 1973? Oh, man. I was one miserable soul.

      Like

       
  4. Cinnamon

    21 December 2011 at 22:42

    Most definitely a sucky (and not in a good way GI) Christmas. Hope it’s better this year.

    Like

     

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