Saturday, November 26, 2005

The Most Wonderful Day of the Year

This Thanksgiving Holiday started out as a loser, a total belly flop, but it proved to be a dark horse, the first in several years.

Initially, since I am stationed at a NATO Base, I was projected to work. Typically, our command cuts us loosse early on Turkey Day -- usually about 11 a.m. or so. That was not the case this year. Instead, we had several training sessions projected. Those of you that are or have been in the military know the routine full well: perpetuate a bad situation, and then step in and say, "I'm such a great [insert word here] that I'm going to let everybody take off 30 minutes early." The proverbial straw on the camel's back was placed when a mandate for Wingman Training came down.

I sat there fuming at my desk as I read, re-read, and re-re-read that particular email. I was pissed. Oh, the hipocrisy!! So, having had enough of the heaping bull shit, I put in for leave at the last minute, and by last minute I mean the Tuesday before the biggest Thursday of the year. Even then, I didn't tell my parents, who live about 3 hours east, that I was coming home. Quite the contrary. I rang my mom at 2:30 on Wednesday to tell her I wouldn't be coming home for the weekend because of all the heaping B.S. at work, and that I wouldn't be able to drive in over the weekend because of some plans I had previously made. She seemed a little sad, but asserted her understanding.

So, finally it was quitting time on Wednesday afternoon, and I raced home, packed my bag and changed in a record 15 minutes, jumped in the car, filled my tank, and made the trip home. I tried a new route (I oft times tire driving through Belgium because the roads can be rather treacherous in the winter, and the Belgian driver are simply treacherous all year round) via Aachen, Koln, and Koblenz. It took about 3 hours, give or take, but mostly give. I made it to my parents house around 9:30 p.m. that evening. I buzzed the door bell about 30 kazillion times. Finally, my baby sister buzzed me in, and, as I was walking in through the landing, I heard my baby sister at the top of the stairs: "Who's down there?"

I came up the stairwell and I motioned for her to be quiet. In the meantime, she obliged me, but only after squealing like a kid on Christmas. I silently ran up the stairs, dashed through the front door and the foyer, and my mom looked up from the couch just as I made it past the entry way.

"I thought you said you weren't coming down!!"

It was a really nice surprise -- just seeing the look on her face made the shitty 3-and some odd hour drive worth the wait!! My dad told me the next day, as we were preparing the food for the big shebang, "Your mom was a little down when you said you wouldn't be able to make it. It's really nice for her that you were able to come out this way."

Aw, it just made my day. So, we gorged on all the food -- I prepared myself a plate of food that rivaled the summit of Mt. Everest in glory. And I put away damn near every bit of food, save some stuffing, which apparently I only like after a long night of drinking. The next day brought with it a laziness only induced by consumption of roast turkey. I lounged around the house with a book, my laptop, or both. It was great. Then, at about 4 p.m., my dad asked my baby sister and me to go on a walk, which was great because they'd received a healthy dusting of snow the evening prior. We walked about 2-3 miles. It was great. My baby sister kept saying, "Daddy, your cheeks are rosy." Then she would turn to me, "Your cheeks are rosy, too."

Of course, her cheeks and turned the color of pink carnations as well. Yet, it wasn't that cold outside. It was fairly comfortable.

So, the weekend is winding down. I'm headed back home today, via Koblenz, Koln, and Aachen, to attend an 80's party in a near-by Dutch town with some friends. I haven't the slightest idea what I'm going to wear!!

The only thing that could have made this weekend any better is if my two eldest sisters had been able to make it out this way, with my nieces and nephew in tote. Oh, well, can't have it all.

I'm just grateful to have a little.