Wednesday, December 26, 2012

I Almost Forgot...

... but then I went by the Ol' Sarge's place and saw his Boxing Day post.  So, cue up Tevye and forgive me this hoary ol' tale...

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.
To quote myself: "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 21 years ago today."  That's not entirely true, it would be more like 21 years ago the day after tomorrow.  I spent Boxing Day of 1990 partying in London.
Well, now.  It's certainly a Great Good Thing that we don't have to deal with frozen water lines any longer.  There's also one of the pics from the Great UK Tour of 1990/1991 and you've seen THAT before, too.


  1. Now that was certainly a very reasonable Boxing Day Post. And a very fine tale it was. Very nice as I read this for the first time, I can see myself reading this again next Boxing Day too, and enjoying it just as much.

    Thanks for the link!

    1. Yeah, you'll read it again next year, Lord willin' and the creek don't rise. Thanks for the kind words!

  2. I'm glad I'm not the only one who indulges in (good) reruns this time of year. Makes me feel like less of a slug.

  3. I'll never forget my tour of Stonehenge on the windswept Canterbury Plains. It was a blustery cold August day and fool that I was I/we wasn't/weren't dressed for it--should have known better after three years in the UK--should have been dressed like y'all in the pic. Froze my/our ass(es) off..

    (In my defense the previous two summers had been US-style HOT in-the-90s type summers, but still, I'd had all that summer to adjust to the two-weeks-in-July/Aug typical British "summer", so should have known..)

    1. Yeah, British summers can rival those of SFO for chilliness. I know it was colder than the proverbial witch's mammary glands the day this pic was taken.


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