Christmas was her favorite holiday, and I'm happy to say I made it home for every one of them, no matter where I happened to be. It got pretty close a time or two.
The most memorable was the first cruise I did after we were married. We got back into Norfolk on the 20th of December in the midst of a winter storm. The winds were over 25 knots and we couldn't be docked, so we sat out in the basin. For two days we looked over the rail and saw the pier, and for two days families gathered on the pier to look at us.
We had satellite phones on the ships by then, and for the two days we were there the phones were open free of charge, the ship's Moral Welfare and Recreation fund picked up the check. That was an expensive two days for them because every phone was busy 24 hours a day for those two days. Each of us only got a few minutes before we had to hand it over to the next guy.
When I got through the only thing I had time to do was sing this. It is my favorite Christmas carol.
On the 23rd the winds died down long enough to put the tugs alongside to push us next to the pier and for the entire day we offloaded our gear while the officers worked mightily to secure flights to Florida for us. We ended up spending the night at the air terminal in Norfolk.
I got home at six PM on the 24th. It was the best Christmas ever.
Here's hoping this Christmas finds you safe and warm and in the presence of people you love. Remember those who are in harm's way and pray for their safe return.
Merry Christmas everyone.
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