ON CHRISTMAS EVE |
December 25, 2006
ON CHRISTMAS EVE
Name: Doug Traversa
Posting date: 12/24/06
Stationed in: Kabul, Afghanistan
Hometown: Tullahoma, TN
Milblog url: http://traversa.typepad.com
On Christmas Eve, my hutmate Mike asked all of us in our side of the hut to sing some Christmas carols for his wife and daughter. He was going to record them on his camera, and send the file to her by e-mail. Of course we agreed, and tried to figure out a song the four of us all knew. We got it down to "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" or "Jingle Bells, Batman Smells". Standing at the end of our hall (right next to Maj Apple's room, so only a single sheet of plywood would protect him from the audio onslaught) the Barbershop Quartet from Hell sang "Rudolph", then watched ourselves on Mike's laptop. I'm glad to say that I'm not the only awful singer in our group. I had pretty stiff competition.
At this point we thought it would be pretty cool if we could sing "You're a Mean One, Mr. Grinch". So we hunted the lyrics down on the internet, and we were all set. Yes, we did sing it, and yes, it was pretty bad. And that's being generous. In fact, Maj Apple yelled through the wall, "For the love of God, please stop!" The files were way too large to send, however, so Mike got online with his wife and daughter with a video feed, and we all crowded into Mike's room and sang both songs again. They seemed to enjoy it, which proves that love is not only blind, but also deaf.
Yesterday we had our Christmas lunch at Central Movement Agency, the Afghan Army base where I work. It all started a couple of weeks ago, when Maj Apple was touring the new HQ building with the CMA Commander, Col Fatiullah and his staff. In the course of their conversation, Col Fatiullah asked when our Christmas Holiday was coming up. He didn't know much about it, but knew it was important to us, and they wanted to help us celebrate. We agreed to have a lunch together, all the ANA troops, officer and enlisted, and all of us, in their chow hall. SMSgt White headed up a team to collect candy and decorations. The morning of the lunch, Col Fatiullah came into our office and asked what we would like to eat. Maj Apple explained that we wanted to eat with the troops, and eat exactly what they ate. Col Fatiullah was nonplussed. He wanted the lunch to be special, since it was an important holiday for us. We told him that in the military we all ate together on Christmas (and most other times too) and it would be special just to be together. So he agreed, and said all his officers would eat with the soldiers too.
The meal was a smashing success. Everyone seemed to have a good time, the soldiers grabbed up the candy happily, and lots of people wanted their photographs taken. It was one of the best Christmas meals I've ever had. We really did feel like we were with family. There are more photos on my blog, but here is a picture of one of our centerpieces -- a card from five-year old Lauren, which says simply, "Please stay safe. Love Lauren."
We'll try really hard, Lauren. Merry Christmas.