Even if your soldier is fortunate enough to be in an FOB like Liberty or Victory, the PX's are seldom fully stocked, and the inventory evidently changes often. When our sons were deployed, they were constantly wanting new games, dvd's, snack food, their favorite toiletries and razors, sheets, and 'stuff from home'.

In the sidebar on the left, you will find links to American stores and businesses that actively support our military and their families.

And please, don't miss the Archived Section containing priceless information on shipping to your soldier! I will occasionally copy that post as new so that it will stay close to the top, as it contains valuable information.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Why I'll Move Heaven and Earth to Go Home For Christmas

As the rain turns to sleet and a blizzard coming later tonight, my mind travels back to an Oh, SO similar Christmas Eve 40 years ago tonight.

My parents left all they'd ever known and relative comfort of Central Texas, moving us to Arkansas in July 1967 so that I and my 3 brothers could grow up in an environment far removed from the growing racial and drug unrest of Austin. In May 1968, our home and everything we owned, all my parents had worked so hard for, burned to the ground. It's the first time I'd ever seen my father cry.

Thankful we were all alive, they began building a house on the land they'd purchased in Madison County before our journey here.

Then, through another unlikely series of events, we had to move into that unfinished house on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1969. Moving once again, with 4 children, in the rain and on Christmas Eve, into a gorgeous new home was a Christmas gift in itself. By late afternoon the snow started to fall, and Daddy scrambled to get beds set up, and the water pipes from the spring house covered as best he could.

I remember little of that day except the exhaustion of it all, and that it was Christmas Eve with not one utterance of when we'd put up a Christmas tree. Daddy always cut a cedar, and Lord only knew where the few decorations were that we'd been given after the house fire. My mom was overwhelmed with the basic logistics of moving and organizing, and as the oldest, it fell to me to get the boys bathed, fed and into bed. I remember how fabulous it felt to be sleeping in my own room again, freshly painted and with the snow splatting on my window.

Morning came, with probably a half foot of snow covering everything. Daddy was walking down the hall knocking on our doors and hollering that Santa must have been slowed down by the snow because he just saw him leave. I could hear the boys banging around and running and laughing. Mother opened my door to make sure I was coming.

Before I got to the living room I could smell the cedar. They had stayed up literally all night long, with Daddy cutting that tree in a snowstorm, and Mother decorating it with our little hand-me-down collection of lights and ornaments.

That's absolutely all I remember of that Christmas Day. The love, devotion, and yes, sense of obligation that my mom and dad showed that Christmas is etched into my heart and my brain.

This looks to be a Christmas so similar to that one 40 years ago -- (actually the Christmas '69 snow didn't let up much until February, and Huntsville Schools were literally closed for 6 weeks!). We're hoping that Shawn, Laura and Shapiro are able to make it up our hill here at the lake tomorrow, but if they can't it's okay.

I DO KNOW that come Saturday, our annual family "Saturday-after-Christmas" dinner at Daddy's and Mother's will go on. And I will move heaven and earth -- snow, ice, roads and all -- to be there with them.

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