If I'm correct, this is something like my 16th out of the last 20 spent at sea, which is fine as I do not function well ashore during Christmas.
I have not been able to function during Christmas since Christmas Eve, '69 when I got stuck in Tampa Airport.
Actually I reallywasn't stuck, I was there as a volunteer. I had given up my seat to a young serviceman that had just returned from Vietnam that really wanted to get home ASAP.
I didn't get home until Christmas Day. Upon arrival home I was unceremoniously stuffed into the family car and hauled of to relatives.
I had been awake for well over 24 hours and really wanted to crash out.
My mother was upset and was worried what the family would say if I didn't show up. There was a small spat until my dad stepped in and hauled me into the kitchen and cut me a deal. I'd go and upon arrival to Grandmas, I'd crash out in the back bedroom upon arrival and get up for dinner.
Mom started to protest when she heard the deal, and right on the spot started to renegotiate with my mom. He simply looked at me and said, "Hit the rack."
Mom blanched and decided half a loaf was better than none. I went to Grandma's, and upon arrival sacked out.
I am the oldest of the generation. All of my cousins are younger than I am and I think I was 30 or so when the youngest of the generation was born. This means I had to deal with a tribe of squalling little excited kids. Ouch.
Upon arrival, I made my excuses and hit the rack and as the Aunts, Uncles and Cousins arrived, dad made it clear I was to be left alone. Of course, one of them decided it would be funny to wake me up and when he did, I simply popped him one. Not too hard, just enough to express my displeasure.
The cousin started bawling and my dad knew he had to do SSOMETHING to keep the peace, as 'Too goddaamned bad' was not an option.
He came into the room and made the sound effects of beating the living daylights out of me to the point, I later heard, that one of my uncles wanted to intervene. Truth is, he never laid a hand on me and when he was done, he winked at me and with a grin told be to get back to sleep.
My father was an expert at making things go away and had a true sense of justice, which most of his kids carry to this day.
I got up a few hours later for dinner and played the Christmas game until we left. If I recall, I drove us home.
Anyway, it seemed that this was the particular Christmas that set me off, probably in part because it was the last one we celebrated an an extended family.
I do not know why, but Christmases just seemed to get worse for me until I just decided to give up on it and let it pass. Things came to a head in the early 80s when I climbed into a jug about 23 Dec and didn't climb out until the morning of 26 Dec.
After that, for some reason it became tolorable. I never climbed into a jug like that again. Ever.
The folowing year, I went to midnight mass, which got me into hot water, as before I left for mass, I swung by Tony's Bar and offered anyone that wanted one a ride. A hooker took me up on the offer and I took her. Maybe I'll tell THAT story sometime. I got a lot of shit over that from a few hippocrites. I was later told by many people that i defended myself well during the following shitstorm.
Since I have been going to sea moving oil, I generally opt to work over the holidays and trade them off to someone with little kids in exchange for time off in the summer to go to Camp Perry, which is my special celebration. I play Santa there by delivering a couple of cases of beer to the Marines.
My dream Christmas would be to spend it with the troops overseas listening to them gripe and griping right along with them.(Maybe give a prize for the most original bitch or some damned thing)
Anyway, even though Mrs Pic and I do not get along very well, she has been pretty good about being pretty good to me over the holidays. For some reason, she seems to understand.
Anyway, here's just a little something for you to read from a guy at sea.