Christmases Away From Home, 1994, 2011

A year into the Air Force, I celebrated Christmas on an island 6,000 miles from home.  Three dollars a minute for a too quick phone call to mom and dad:  Jean played softball and dad fixed the earthquake damage; mom made a turkey and Jake hated high school; Merry Christmas all around and I promise I’ll never miss another Christmas at home.  $18 later, I left my room to go to the ocean, all warm and Guam and 1994, certain I’d keep my promise.

My favorite cliff-diving spot on Guam, 1994.

And then, last year, I got married.  In a barn on a farm with a litter of kittens under a dais my father-in-law built. 

We were married by her father, on the farm she grew up on.

We spent Christmas that year at my parents’ home, a baby on the way, a California barbecue, and a round of ‘See you next years!’.

On the way back to Wichita from Christmas, while talking about the growing nephews and her growing belly, my wife told me marriage is about compromise.  I laughed at her joke, but she told me that Christmas should be with her family next year.

So here I am again, away from CA on Christmas for the first time since ’94.  With a new family and new traditions of football and Christmas Eve present openings.  We drink coffee and play some of the same games:  Cribbage and Catan.  We manage to incorporate some old traditions:  barbecues and stockings.

Family Christmas pic, Oklahoma 2011; during our Christmas hike, a new tradition.

This year is much better than that one in Guam.  Even though there’s no ocean to see in Oklahoma. The phone call will be for longer than six minutes and cost less than $18.  And I’ll make another promise, to see them every other Christmas.  At least until we start hosting our own Christmas celebrations.

About Jimmy

The stories herein are about a sentimental 80s child who cried at every showing of ET (the sad part where he was lying in the wash) and his families, then and now. His wife, son, parents, and siblings play their parts well. They have their exits and their entrances. Sometimes their exits are sad, but not as sad as ET.
This entry was posted in fatherhood, Life, memoir, Nostalgia and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Christmases Away From Home, 1994, 2011

  1. Dianna says:

    Merry Christmas to you and your family, Jimmy. I’m glad we’ve become acquainted through blogging.
    And, by the way, tell your wife I love her bridal gown!

  2. Maxi Malone says:

    Married on a farm, in a barn, by your father-in-law … now that’s a story to tell your kids.

    May the new year bring you and your family glorious memories.

    Blessings – Maxi

  3. Adrienne says:

    Since we’ve had kids (25 years) we’ve spent all but 4 Christmases in our home. Often with varying combos of visiting family. Now we’re on the other end…newly married daughter and learning to share her with her new family. We’re blessed in that we all get along so well, and the kids are happy and comfortable in both places. Sounds like you had a wonderful celebration in a beautiful place!

  4. Mom says:

    Sure did miss you this Christmas, as wwe did the last time. So, you’ll be here next year…yes?

  5. Cally says:

    I say, start hosting- make everyone come to you!
    I hope your Christmas was still a good one.

  6. auntyuta says:

    What a delightful blog! I love all your pictures. Wishing you and your family all the best for all your future Christmasses!
    By the way, our family opens presents on Christmas Eve too, at least some of them, when they come to our place for Christmas Eve.celebraions, We live in Australia. Of course It is generally the custom here to open presents on the morning of Christmas Day.

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