Sixty years ago today, I was enjoying my first Christmas Eve with my family. I can’t say I remember much – I wasn’t quite 6 months old yet – but I’m sure I was the life of the party, even someone else had to put the star on top of the tree.
I’m sure I was excited, though… Christmas carols playing on the phonograph, a fire roaring in the fireplace, milk and cookies set out for the fat guy in the funny suit… hell, just thinking about that night gets my system going. Hopefully, not the same kind of going that was probably going through my mind in 1952. At least I’m not back in diapers again! Yet.
Fast forward 18 years, and I was in ‘Nam, preparing for the VC’s (thankfully, half-assed) offensive effort to mark the two year anniversary of the Tet Offensive. I recall nearly messing my britches once or twice then, too, but not for the same reasons.
By my 30th Christmas, I was in Iceland, installing a special power system for the Navy, and for the 40th, I was running a Facilities Engineering team for McDonnell-Douglas at the Long Beach airport. That was a VERY white Christmas!
For my 50th Christmas, I was living and working in Baja California, as Gen. Manager for a manufacturing plant that built stock and custom commercial office furnishings, as well as managing a contracting firm in San Diego. In my spare time, I was building our dream-house, with eventual retirement a not-too-distant idea.
And today, for my 60th, I’m “retired” from corporate life, and working for myself, from my home office. I have to chuckle when I say retired, because I feel anything but retired! While exchanging Christmas wishes this morning with a friend, he laughed when I said it, too, because like me, he puts in 100+ hrs per week. That’s hardly the life of leisure!
I find myself wondering where I’ll be come my 70th Christmas… by that time, I may be looking to have one of the grandkids put the star on the tree. If any of them were here this year, I would have cheerfully stepped aside and let them take over the ritual. I’ve stretched to reach the top of plenty of trees… time for someone else to have some fun.
I’ll just sit back, sippin’ my whisky, and supervise!
However many Christmases (or Hannukah, Kwanzaa, whatever…) you’ve already celebrated and however many more you’ve got ahead of you, I wish you a Merry Christmas this year and every year.