My Gift to You
Not Home for the Holidays...
It’s tough being away from home for the holidays. You want something to give you a warm-fuzzy, everything-is-going-tobe-okay feeling. Some memory. An aroma… a song… anything…
I remember my mom sending me a shoebox full of cookies. But the package had been tossed around so many times that, instead of cookies, I got crumbs. Chocolate chips mixed with oatmeal cookie crumbs and orphaned raisins, long since separated from their once-secure cookie abodes.
I looked at the discombobulated mess and cried. When I settled down, I grabbed a handful of the crumbs and shoveled them into my mouth. They tasted great …Christmas saved!
But how to make everybody else feel better?
As often happens, my mind began to gnaw on the problem the way a puppy gnarls a steak bone. Gnaw. Growl. Gnaw. Growl. Gnaw.
Then it happened. I saw one of those big green blotter things on somebody’s desk.
“Where can I get me one of those?” I asked, nearly hyperventilating.
“Supply cabinet,” he said.
I went to the supply cabinet, pulled out the blotter, grabbed a pair of scissors, some glue, and tape. Then I trotted away like a fox with a hen dangling from his jaws.
Back at my workstation, I began lovingly cutting the large, rectangular blotter into two equal triangles. Then I took those two triangles, reversed them so as to create a big green triangle and taped it to a bare wall that could be seen as you entered the portable trailer.
There it was. My Christmas tree. But something was missing… ornaments. My brain began to gnaw again, growl again. After awhile getting nowhere, I went back to work.
Now, as anyone who has ever worked on a radio knows, electronic gear is made up of a lot of tiny parts. Resistors, capacitors, tubes, condensers, coils, cables, wiring bundles. And a lot of that stuff is color-coded. Sort of like miniature ornaments! So I gathered up all the spare parts I could find and attached them to my tree.
As I worked to transform this blotter into a bona fide faux tree, word spread through the squadron about what I was up to. Periodically, people would sneak around to check on my progress. I shielded my project as best I could. By the time I was finished, it was evening and the work trailer was shut down except for my work area. My final touch was to take my 45 desktop goose-neck lamp and clamp it on my work table in such a way that it gave a warm glow to my tree.
It was wonderful.
I was too tired to trek back to the barracks, so I moved aside some radios and crawled onto a shelf under my workstation to get some sleep. As I drifted off, I heard a noise. Startled, but keeping quiet, I watched as three of my fellow sailors stood before my blotter tree with its odd little trimmings. They stayed for a few minutes, silently, then left.
It was a blessed moment, one that still warms my heart.