Monday, December 27, 2010

A Missed Tradition

Well, not one of those traditions... I'm speaking about a blog tradition here.  It seems that I've put this particular post up every Boxing Day except for one in the longish history (heh) of this sterling publication.  And we just forgot all about it yesterday, mainly coz we had that massive Case of The Ass.  We're over that now.  For the moment.  But we digress.

So... a day late and a dollar short, as is my habit:

The Usual, Customary, and (Somewhat) Reasonable Boxing Day Post

It's a short one, but.. with the exception of 2007... we've been putting this one up every Boxing Day since 2005:

The Ghosts of Christmas Past

I had to pop out to do a little grocery shopping. All the way to Wally-World and back I was thinking about Christmas' Past and the strangest thing struck me. I cannot, for the life of me, remember a single thing about the last Christmas The Second Mrs. Pennington and I spent together (1997). Nothing. Zip. Nada. I think it’s because the cataclysmic events that unfolded over the eight months following that Christmas completely obliterated all memories of times immediately preceding. It was, after all, the Winter of Her Discontent, and I was completely oblivious. Quite another story.

It is more than passing strange, however. That Christmas was my youngest son’s First Christmas. Even though he was only ten months old at the time I’m sure he had a great old time tearing into boxes and playing with the wrapping paper, as very young children do. But I don’t remember any of it. I don’t remember the tree. I don’t remember taking any pictures. I don’t remember what I gave or received that Christmas. I don’t remember a damned thing, except for the fact we were in Rochester. That’s the sum total!

I did recall, in great detail, the year we spent Christmas night on a British Airways flight from Detroit to London. Our flight left sometime around six or seven in the evening on Christmas Day, and we were at the airport a good three hours before that. There were three of us: TSMP, our great good friend Kim, and myself. It was Kim’s first trip outside the US, and she was as excited as is humanly possible. The flight was nearly empty because, who, after all, travels on Christmas Day? Just us bargain hunters. TSMP and Kim stayed awake most of the flight. I, on the other hand, found an empty row and slept. Don’t you just love empty airplanes on transatlantic flights? It doesn’t happen a lot these days, from what I read.

We arrived at Heathrow around 0700 and were completely through customs and baggage claim in about an hour. The Captain, although he was either a Buck Sergeant or a Staff Sergeant stationed at RAF Lakenheath at the time (ed: and is now -- in 2010 -- referred to as The Major, time advancing as it does), met us at Arrivals. We loaded up the luggage and piled into his ratty old British Ford Cortina with the broken heater and leaky floor and did the patented B&P nickel tour of London for Kim’s benefit.

Sidebar: I use the term “B&P nickel tour” in a very personal sense. TSMP and I lived in London from 1980 - 1983 and we had a LOT of visitors. After the first wave of visitors had come and gone we developed our own little two-hour driving tour of London that hit all the high spots: Buckingham Palace, Westminster, Picadilly Circus, Tower Bridge, et al. We also threw in a few of our favorite places. It was great fun reliving that tour!

So. After the tour we grabbed lunch and went to the hotel for a little nap before our evening out. And thus began the ten-day England Christmas Tour of 1990-something. I don’t remember the exact year, actually. But I sure remember that trip…one of my BEST Christmases (and New Year’s), ever. 

We added this in 2006:
The Best Thing about our arrival in London on Boxing Day was the heretofore unmentioned party we went to that evening. TSMP, SN1, Good Friend Kim, and I went to my Brit Buddy Rob’s place, where we partied into the wee small hours. The most interesting thing about that party was that Rob and I picked up exactly where we’d left off more than ten years earlier.  It was as if we’d seen each other only yesterday. It’s like that with great, good friends.
We have to go do a lil shopping today, much like on 12/26/2005.  The first item on my list is at least four gallons of water, coz Dear Ol' Santa left me frozen water lines for Christmas.  I must have been pretty danged naughty this year to deserve this particular lump o' coal in my virtual stocking.

I swear to The Deity At Hand that this episode ain't MY fault.  We had water when we went to bed in the early hours of Christmas Day but apparently my "drip (beat-beat) drip (beat-beat)" wasn't enough flow to keep the lines from freezing.  So, once again it's back to the 19th century when hauling water was all the rage.  I had hopes my lines would thaw yesterday as our high was supposed to be 40 degrees.  We didn't make it... and it's gonna be a near-run thing again today.  I have my fingers crossed.

A correction:  I put up a photo of amazingly tasty, world-class enchiladas on Christmas Eve and erroneously credited the creation of same to my daughter-in-law Erma.  I was wrong... the enchiladas came from the mobile kitchen of The First Mrs. Pennington, who is literally world-renowned for that dish (shown above in an enchilada assembly line operation at SN2's house in Maine, June 2006.  That's SN1 receiving a sample for QA purposes.).  I also found out that TFMP created said enchiladas solely for my consumption, a fact that leaves me sheepish about the bad joke I made at her expense a couple o' few days ago.

So: herewith the correction and a public apology.  I'm sorry, Ramona.  You can take "sorry" in the literal and figurative senses, both apply.

Well.  We fixed THAT oversight now, didn't we?  And we shall add a photo from the Great Ol' Blighty Tour of 1990/91.

That pic is a re-run, too.  That's SN1, The Lovely Miz Lynch, and YrHmblScrb at a world-famous pile o' rocks, the pic which just might have been taken 20 years ago today.  The date is close enough for gub'mint work.  It was freakin' COLD that day, too.


  1. Hey, I remember the Boxing Day post. 20 years, eh! Time sure flies, huh?

    " a world-famous pile o' rocks..."


  2. Buck,
    I can almost smell those enchiladas. They looked fantastic!

  3. I have the same kind of memories of the last Christmas that I spent with the FHU. Nada. Weird, huh?

  4. There's not a December 26th to pass that doesn't take me back to RAF Mildenhall! Thanks for the trip down memory lane Buck!

  5. Selective memory, we keep up front what is embarrasing and what is important. Old age then does a number on the old noggin towards the latter (we don't really know what's important without some nagging).

    I emphasize embarrasing, because I had three (only three) most embarrasing momments in my life, and I can't get them out of my mind. I was thinking maybe a hypnotist can convert them into something that can be forgotten. None of them amount to anything, but it bugs me that they keep popping up.

    Once I was giving a motivational speech, and BAM that damned event from 50 years ago pops into my mind and I start giggling, and lose track of where I am.

    The one thing I've found out about women, and I might pass this on for those contemplating marriage one day, is that women aren't worth the energy to blow them to pieces.

    But I do like how smooth they are...

  6. Hey Anon, I gotta disagree somewhat. Women can be quite useful.

    Duckin' boos, and throwed whatever...

  7. Andy, with experience as a salesman, I could probably move that product for you...

  8. Nyuk!

    I think even a blind hog could find that acorn.

  9. Nice memories! But now I want Mexican food. Happy Boxing Day!

  10. P.S. -- not taking the battle-of-the-sexes bait!

  11. The enchiladas look like winners, and the Stonehenge pic is very cool. I guess them Druids weren't completely worthless after all.

  12. That pile o' rocks is one of the few things that might, someday, get me on a plane overseas.

  13. 20 years, eh! Time sure flies, huh?

    That it does, Andy... that it DOES.

    Ed: The First Mrs. Pennington makes the world's BEST enchiladas and that's NO exaggeration.

    Weird, huh?

    Yeah, it is that, Deb. I gave this subject some serious thought today and I STILL cannot dredge up a single memory of that Christmas.

    Dale: I find myself thinkin' a LOT about Ol' Blighty during the holidays. It happens every year.

    Anon: I kinda-sorta agree with your take on The Fairer Sex, but not completely. I will say this, tho: if you'd a told me that I'd be living a life free of a Significant Other as recently as ten years ago I'd have laughed in your face. Go back 20 years and my reaction would have been "pass that bong, please." Funny how time changes a person.

    Moogie: The memories are nice, indeed. I could have used some enchiladas this Christmas.

    Inno: Stonehenge IS cool, most especially in December. I'd recommend visiting in July.

    Kris: There are MUCH better things about England than that pile o' rocks, believe me. Go!

  14. Free of Significant Other...

    I guess it works both ways. I met a beautiful woman at the train station bistro, when I asked to join her booth. I figured she was in her 60's.

    One thing leads to another, and I ask her if she's going to the Kaleidoscope of Dreams Light Show and maybe I could take her on a date.

    I wish I could have recorded the laugh, and I'm sure her coffee almost went down the wrong pipe. After many years experience I can handle rejection pretty well, so I took it as funny as she did.

    Anyway her final comments on the subject, was she has enough to do with her kids and grandkids that she doesn't need a date (the word was drawn out to a long one syllable Texas drawl).

    I think it's a worldwide shortage of testosterone...

  15. I think it's a worldwide shortage of testosterone...

    I can only speak for myself, but in my specific case it ain't a lack of testosterone, it's an unwillingness to settle for something, anything. I've had The Real Thing (and it wasn't Coke); anything less just ain't worth the hassle.

  16. I've had The Real Thing (and it wasn't Coke); anything less just ain't worth the hassle.

    Amen, Bro! If EVER I find myself alone, after having the Real Thing as I have...

    I'm finished.

    Probably won't happen, though. I'm planning to check out pretty soon, and leave her in that boat (wink, wink).

    Just sayin'...

  17. it's an unwillingness to settle for something, anything.
    been there, done that once. cost me 24 grand. I think I'll just stay single and end up being the crazy old dog lady.

  18. Andy: I'm glad you see my point. You wouldn't believe the number of people who don't. Or mebbe you would.

    Deb: I know of several horror stories like yours. I'm sorry you got bit.

  19. ...cost me 24 grand

    I never minded the money, but I did hate the complete waste of time.

    As they say, romance it's like a new car, all love and warmth, and then slowly they stick a knife in you, but just enough to only almost kill you...

    My parents were a trip. They would almost kill each other every week, and yet stayed together until they died. It's like they didn't realize that life was short, and there were other apples on the tree. Different age, lower standards.

  20. My parents were a trip.

    So were mine in sorta the same way. Except my Mom left my father two weeks after I went into the Air Force. She needed a referee in the house and since I was gone...


Just be polite... that's all I ask.