Thanksgiving & The Christmas Tree….

Discussion in 'Vietnam Memories Forum' started by Admin, Mar 16, 2003.

  1. Admin

    Admin Administrator Staff Member

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    Mithrandir
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 342
    (10/30/02 1:05:19 pm)
    Thanksgiving & The Christmas Tree….
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    This is the time of year when our memories drift back to the Thanksgiving, Christmas and yes, even Hanukkah (SP?) we have experienced while at home and away. All of us, who have been away from home, or maybe overseas during the holidays, knows what it is like to be………

    Well……….

    Alone…..

    And this is a story of how we “coped” with it…..

    Some units make sure that Thanksgiving, Christmas & Hanukkah is remembered or observed for the benefit of the troops. There is almost always a good feast cooked up, the Chaplains always have Mass and other services, most people even get a package from home, or at least, a special letter.

    Those of us who are not of the Main-line religions had…..each other………….and you learn a lot about others that way. Even if you hadn’t grown to be a “band-of-brothers” so to speak.

    My first Thanksgiving in VN wasn’t so bad….the turkey was terrible and everything else was watered down or overcooked….but…. it was Thanksgiving, so we made the best of it.

    Our first Christmas in VN , on the other hand, was…………..

    Pathetic………

    We were on duty during the main meal and when we got off duty.. the food was gone. The cooks didn’t even try to save us anything…..

    The rain was a very cold drizzle….(not unlike what Kansas City has had for the last ten days)…..

    VN has no pine trees….

    A surprise huh?…..

    So, here we are, a group of twenty or so guys with no Christmas dinner, no Christmas tree and no letters or packages from home…..

    A serious blue-funk permeated the land…..

    Rundles was so depressed, I thought that he was going to implode……

    “The hell with this… Rundles!! Get off your butt and go get some beer if you can find any…”

    “Where in the hell am I supposed to by beer this late at night when the PX is closed?””

    “Go to the EM club, …….Jamison.. go buy hard stuff….Tappan… go get some dip, chips and anything you can”

    “I am going to get us a TREE!! Or at least, a reasonable facsimile thereof. And everyone meet at our star-bunker..”

    One guys went and found ice, and put it in a make-shift cooler…

    One found package ribbon, some nice bright red trimmed in green…

    One guy donated his food stash… “C”’s of all sorts..

    One guy had candles, someone else started fashioning tree ornaments from the tin-foil wrappings from a chocolate candy box…

    And as this little band of troops suddenly found themselves with a “Mission”, the blue fog lifted and was banished!

    Fifteen or twenty minutes later, they started arriving at the bunker…. Candles were lit and placed all over the place… (the blast doors were shut…we did not want a sniper round visiting us!!)…

    Some of the fabricated decorations were strung up around the bunker.

    A couple of small field tables showed up and were covered up a camo silk parachute, Rundles & Tappan came in and had beer,, Jack Daniels, some indiscriminate type of vodka, chips showed up…

    And Lo & Behold…. Tappan actually found several bags of potato chips and a half jar of tartar sauce thilched from the mess-hall and laced with onions to make a rather “different” onion dip…

    The “C”s, when separated into categories, then opened, where placed into several helmets over make-shift fires….food was now beginning to heat up… the aroma waifted out into the trench line and attracted a couple of our MP’s……who, when invited to join in… left for a moment then returned with three loafs of bread to donate to the celebration….

    Someone had brought a battery-power radio/tape player and was playing a Christmas album by somebody.. I don’t remember who… but it was a typical American album…

    Several canteens of water where turned into flavored drinks…The Infamous “Fizzies” where abundant…..but it was a good base drink for the vodka..

    OH MY GOD… LOOK AT THIS… another Mp just came in with two CASES of coka-cola in bottles AND ITS ALL COLD TOO!!!

    “WHERE THE HELL IS THE JACK DANIALS??””

    This was looking better all the time……

    But……

    Then I returned………

    “Sorry guys…. No tree……couldn’t get near the commanders hooch to steal his bush.. so all I have it this….”

    And I held up ……

    A beer can with a Bamboo branch in it……it looked a lot like the branch that Snoopy sits on when he is the “Vulture”…

    I fully expected to be thrown out…..

    “Gimmie that” says an MP…

    And he wraps the can in a piece of bright red paper, and then tapes a bow to it… adds one ornament...and writes something on the can.. and with a grand wave of his arms.. he places it right in the middle of one of our tables which is centered in the middle of the bunker…..

    “Our Christmas Tree” he announces….

    The can read “ HO F*&KING HO F*&KING HO….MERRY F*&KING CHRISTMAS”

    You can hear some of the more religious boys suck in their breath…

    But…..

    Everyone, with one voice yells “YAAAAAA MERRY CHRITMAS”

    And as the candles provided a soft light…. We all sang Holy Night…..

    Off key………

    Even the frogs shut-up…..

    Someone whispers a small prayer, I don’t remember the words…. But to us… it was profound…..

    Our celebration begins…..as we start talking to each other more, we find that we have 4 Roman Catholics, 2 Lutherans, 1 friend (Guess who?), 2 Sikhs, a Buddhist, 3 Native Americans, a couple of Jewish folks and a smattering of other Christian denominations……

    We ate…

    We drank….

    We cursed the war….

    We sang more songs…. Some of these guys knew some really good Christmas songs….One of the Sikhs sang a song, but in his language… then a Jewish song……….both very beautiful…. their songs and the American Indians songs reverberated off the bunker walls and could be heard by the two watch towers close by…

    The CQ & OD poke their heads is to see what is going on…..they stay for a few minutes and then leave….

    Midnight comes…..Christmas day is over…..

    But not in our hearts…..



    Epilogue

    As the next few weeks pass….. everyone who joined into that little celebration, became more than friends….we seemed to be the only group on post that was not, or no longer in, a deep blue funk….our work load was easier… our minds did not dwell on problems… and was all had new friends….all of us who had been alone…

    Where now a group……

    We ate together..

    We played together…

    We were one…..


    Then….

    TeT hit…..



    Out…

    Esse Quam Videri

    Edited by: Mithrandir at: 10/31/02 11:35:18 am

    hope6970
    *VMBB Staff*
    Posts: 1140
    (10/31/02 12:14:41 am)
    Re: Thanksgiving & The Christmas Tree….
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    Good story Mith, enjoyed reading it. However, you are now at Tet......is "the rest of the story" turning bad? You are going to make us cry now, arn't you?

    Hope

    Mithrandir
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 343
    (10/31/02 10:43:32 am)
    Re: Thanksgiving & The Christmas Tree….
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    not if I can help it Hope....



    out..
    Esse Quam Videri

    SixTGunr
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 521
    (10/31/02 2:17:02 pm)
    Re: Thanksgiving & The Christmas Tree….
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Truly enjoyed the sharing of your fond memories Mith and can definately relate to what you experienced .....

    Mine was a tad different or should I say "confusing" and one major "cluster ####" .....

    One of these days I'll let ya all know about how I spent the Christmas of '67 .....

    As for Thanksgiving ..... It totally sucked as we had just finished up with Operation Essex in the Antenna Valley and we were'nt exactly in the mood for any viddles ...

    Six



    Mithrandir
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 345
    (10/31/02 2:42:52 pm)
    Re: Thanksgiving & The Christmas Tree….
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    I look forward to it....
    Esse Quam Videri

    high2fly
    *Senior Chief Of Staff*
    Posts: 1371
    (10/31/02 3:22:26 pm)
    Re: Thanksgiving & The Christmas Tree?.
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    That was right on target Mith---a classic---why don't you send it to Tom Brokaw, NBC News, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, NY, N.Y. 10112---just might surprise you with a personal note from the guy--. wilborn

    hope6970
    *VMBB Staff*
    Posts: 1143
    (10/31/02 11:48:14 pm)
    Re: Thanksgiving & The Christmas Tree?.
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    You sure know how to tell those stories Mith......you keep us so darn entertained. I have got so when I hit on this Mem. Forum - I expect an exciting, mouse gripping, hilarious story just waiting there to be read......written by the none other,
    Great Story Writer.....Mithrandir


    Hope

    Edited by: hope6970 at: 10/31/02 11:53:10 pm

    Mithrandir
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 349
    (11/1/02 8:30:05 am)
    Re: Thanksgiving & The Christmas Tree?.
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    thanks Hope....

    flattery might get you anywhere....

    just don't tell my wife!!!

    and OH... I left one or two for you over in the VNBB Story tellers section


    and...please.... don't grip that mouse too tight... you might hurt it....




    out..
    Esse Quam Videri

    Edited by: Mithrandir at: 11/1/02 12:28:06 pm

    hope6970
    *VMBB Staff*
    Posts: 1147
    (11/1/02 11:49:35 pm)
    Re: Thanksgiving & The Christmas Tree?.
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    Mith, if I could talk to your wife, I would tell her to tie you down in front of that computer and do nothing but tell us stories.

    BTW, my husband reads them and he enjoys them as much as I do.


    Hope



    I found the other stories Mith......thanks for sharing them with us. Nudist beach??? I bet everyone had to take a second look to believe what you were seeing??? lol - lol



    Edited by: hope6970 at: 11/2/02 12:30:00 am

    Mithrandir
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 355
    (11/2/02 8:38:50 am)
    Re: Thanksgiving & The Christmas Tree?.
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    I was never sure who was surprised more...

    The Marines or the sun bathers....

    LOL... it was GREAT!!!...

    The really neat thing about it was that the only way onto the beach is either a very steep, narrow climb up the face of the cliff (which have been worked into a clear path) or the sea!!..

    talk to you soon..


    out...


    Esse Quam Videri

    SixTGunr
    V.I.P. Member
    Posts: 525
    (11/2/02 11:53:11 am)
    Re: Thanksgiving & The Christmas Tree?.
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    MARINES?

    Did somebody say Marines?

    As in Jarheads?

    I gotta check this out!

    Six



    hope6970
    *VMBB Staff*
    Posts: 1150
    (11/2/02 1:11:42 pm)
    Re: Thanksgiving & The Christmas Tree?.
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    Yes Six, Marines....the ones that land on the Nudist Beaches...lol, ,lol Now I know why all the guys like to join the Marines. - Hope

    haggai69
    Member
    Posts: 36
    (11/26/02 2:33:26 pm)
    Charlie Brown Christmas
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    Not sure if this is an appropriate analogy, but you guys kind of remind me of the Charlie Brown Christmas special. Even or especially the tree. Deep down inside you guys discovered the true meaning of Christmas where most couldn't or wouldn't find it.

    Happy Holiday's everybody. I'll be thinking of all of you when I sit down to my little feast this weekend.

    hope6970
    *VMBB Staff*
    Posts: 1251
    (11/28/02 1:25:50 am)
    Re: Charlie Brown Christmas
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Thank You Haggi and a very Happy Thanksgiving to you!!!

    Perhaps you can join us more often????



    Hope
  2. Admin

    Admin Administrator Staff Member

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