As I write, in a warm office, with my computer, which I use to keep in touch with the entire world, I'm feeling pretty fuckin' blessed. 2016 killed off some nice folks, some bad ones, too, but for me, it's been a good year. Some folks are dealing with the 'what do we do now?' feeling of knowing that next year they don't have much of a voice within the federal government. It feels shitty to acknowledge that. I spent the last 8 years hiding my light under a basket, I empathize. Today, being the loudmouth that I am, while I'm an admitted small r Republican, a Reagan republican with libertarian leanings, I'm optimistic for the corrective measures that seem to be in place. We have an opportunity to have people who actually DO represent my interests in our government, and, God willing, they might get some things done. Let's hope, anyhow.
So, tomorrow's Christmas Day, and, while I am working, we've got a decent schedule. We've got a small cargo parcel to load at 0200, and hopefully we'll be done by noon, and can sit and cook a massive and coma-inducing Christmas dinner after. Discharge isn't until sunup on the 26th. I've been eating healthy for a few weeks now, and am looking forward to ruining that temporarily.
My first missed holidays started when I was 18, when I was pumping gas on Thanksgiving and Christmas days. I was 18 and single, and the manager of the gas station rightfully put me on there 6am to 6pm, as I was single and childless. Still sucked though. I missed Christmas Day the next year too, although I caught Thanksgiving, and after all, I was home that night after 6pm sometime.
3 years later, I spend Christmas in Blue Creek, a Mayan village deep in the rain forest of Belize, one of the last communities to make contact with the modern world. It was inspiring, and made me appreciate the true spirit of Christmas, as our day was focused on the people around us, and the meaning behind the season.
Over the intervening years, I've missed probably 2/3 of my Christmas Day celebrations with family. I don't begrudge it. In my 20's and early 30's I was single, and, being childless, it made sense for shipmates to have the time to be with their loved ones. These days, older if not wiser, and with both wife and Child, I have a good job, but I only get Christmas with my family once every 3 years. On the upside, next year is my year, and when it does happen, I make a very big deal about it and enjoy it, and, in the 'off' years, my nuclear family celebrates when we can. Whether it's early December or mid-January, we have another Christmas day for us, and we enjoy it and make it work. This year, we did Christmas 2 weeks early, and, although my wife and kid are now with family up north to celebrate the day itself, I got to enjoy my Christmas, and got to church and confession and all that when I could, early on, exchanged presents (well, most. I always reserve some things for them to open on the day itself), and generally, made it work for us.
So, tomorrow I plan to eat myself into a coma, and while I can't be with family or get to attend mass, I'll have a nice day, God willing, and that's enough for me. On ships and tugs, it often falls to the captain to ensure that Christmas is still special, even if it just means a good dinner. I was lucky enough to have a good example set by my early captains, who always ensured that there was a wrapped present for everyone, decorations, a tree and a massive dinner.
|Our Bosun, Christmas 2008, aboard the SS NEW RIVER|
Whether you're at home or at work, at sea or on land, I wish you all a Merry Christmas.