Tuesday, September 30, 2014


Bronze tympanum over the main entrance, Library of Congress,
Thomas Jefferson Building, Washington, D.C.
Olin Levi Warner,  1895)*
The WSO called me Sunday afternoon as she was heading from Fresno to her place of residence. Just a standard father-daughter chat, we have a lot of those. Not as many as there are mother-daughter chats though, as I am lower in the "call chain."

Now this "call chain," as The Nuke explained it to me, runs like this.
  1. Call Mom's cellphone, if no answer -
  2. Call the land line, if no answer -
  3. Call Dad's cellphone.
If, having had to exercise Option 3, Dad (that is me, Your Humble Scribe) the first question should be, "Where is Mom, why is Mom not answering her phone?"

Sometimes, on very rare occasions, it is Dad to whom the daughters wish to speak. Sunday afternoon was one such occasion. Though, truth be told, The WSO calls me more often than The Nuke calls me. I think perhaps it is because The WSO and I share a common aviation background. The Nuke will call me on the very rare occasions she needs "professional military advice," of which I am a font of esoteric knowledge. Having spent 24 years in Uncle Sam's pay, you pick up a thing or two.

(Does The Naviguesser ever call? Why yes, yes he does. But he's my son. Sons have an odd idea of how often to call their parents. Ask my Mom. "Why haven't you called?" - "Well, nothing's changed Mom. If you don't hear from me, you may assume that all is well." No, my Mom doesn't buy that either. But if The Naviguesser doesn't call, then everything is fine.)

Of course that overlong preamble was, for the most part, a digression. Which is, I think, the spécialité de la maison round these parts. As it were. (As is saying "As it were.")

One of the topics The WSO and I discussed was the upcoming holiday season. That long time period which (for me) starts on Halloween and runs through the end of the year and the first couple of days of the new year. Not that I make a big deal out of the so-called "New Year's" celebrations. For me that's just another...

But I digress.

For quite a few years, at least since The WSO graduated from college in 2006, we have made a point to spend the holidays together. Since The WSO went off to the Navy, we still get together for Christmas at least.

For a couple of years, The Missus Herself and Your Humble Scribe would hop in the Sarge-mobile (once) or an aircraft operated by SomeAirline (once) and head down to the Norfolk area for Christmas. If memory serves me right (and sometimes it does) we spent Christmas of 2008 in Virginia Beach and Christmas of 2009 in Norfolk. 2010 and 2011, the progeny came to Little Rhody for Christmas.

It's tougher now that The Naviguesser and his tribe and The WSO and her tribe are out in California. Even with air travel (such as it is) traveling to California is a non-trivial exercise. Christmas of 2012 we were all on our own at Christmas. 2013, we went up to my Mom's which was awesome.

After Christmas, we flew out to Michigan to spend New Year's. Again, we had fun.

What applied for spending Christmas together also applied to Thanksgiving. But when the kids went forth to keep the world safe for democracy, and as Thanksgiving is very close to Christmas, getting together at Thanksgiving went by the wayside a few years back.

But the kids now get together in California for Thanksgiving, usually at La Casa de WSO. Even The Nuke flies out there for that fiesta. For them it has become, drum roll please, a Tradition.

Now I am very keen when it comes to tradition but am by no means hide-bound when it comes to establishing new traditions. I know that may sound odd coming from an Air Force guy. My old service is not very good at tradition. Hell, we get new uniforms every time we get a new Chief of Staff! (Not really but damn near.) The Marines do tradition very well. Next best is the Navy. I used to think the Army did tradition pretty well. But their record has been spotty (at least in my book) since Shinseki introduced the beret for everybody.

But I have gone off on a tangent once again.

The WSO's tribe had been trying to do a Michigan-Rhody-Michigan-Rhody rotation for the holidays. This year, she informed me, she and Big Time wanted to establish a new, drum roll please, Tradition! Yes, indeed.

As Little Bit, the senior granddaughter, is now four years of age, she's going to start remembering these times when she gets older. So Big Time and The WSO thought it might be nice to actually stay home for Christmas this year. It will be the first time that they've spent Christmas in their own home. While I will miss them, I think it's a grand idea.

Of course, The WSO has floated the idea of us going "out there" after Christmas. For the New Year's festivities I guess. She sensed the hesitation in my voice, as the week of Christmas and the week after Christmas are known to be "the two weeks out of the year where Dad doesn't like to do squat." Seriously. My company shuts down for Christmas and if I sprinkle the time period with a couple of judiciously saved vacation days, Your Humble Scribe has 17 days where I can do whatever I want. Even The Missus Herself semi-honors this tradition.

So yes, I am torn. She could sense that on the phone.

Then she said, "Dad, we could go up to Reno. And Fallon." Reno is an attractive sounding place and as for Fallon...

I have my reasons.

Many of you will get that. Some of you won't. Let's just say that Fallon is a big deal in Naval Aviation. There's also something I need to see there. A place I need to visit. Something which aligns with my visits to Shakespeare's and Fort Rosecrans out Sandy Eggo way. It's just something I need to do.

It's my way of honoring Tradition

* Photographed in 2007 by Carol Highsmith (1946–), who explicitly placed the photograph in the public domain.


  1. Well, first off, I'll plead guilty of ignorance concerning Fallon. But Reno is a swell place. Second, I love holiday traditions. Anything that breaks with them causes me mental pain. Establishing new traditions is OK, though. We did that with Thanksgiving years ago, making our home the place to go. It has worked out well. Third, I completely understand the 17 days thing. I always planned my longest yearly break from work around said Thanksgiving, spreading it out so I had days of sloth around the days when I hectically got the house in shape and did the cooking. In any case, best of luck and I hope you get the most of what you need.

    1. Thanks Suldog. As I recall from the stories you've told, you have some great holiday traditions.

      That 17 days at the end of the year is when I recharge my batteries. It is needed more and more every year. Getting old is not for sissies!

  2. I would like to go to Fallon as well. Not for the holidays though. A certain date in March,,,,,,,,,,,.

  3. I used to think the Army did tradition pretty well. But their record has been spotty (at least in my book) since Shinseki introduced the beret for everybody.

    Us older farts remember going from the "Ridgeway" cover to the ugliest baseball cap ever. Always blamed Fidel Castro for that decision as he wore a Ridgeway cover.

    1. Yup, that was not an improvement.

      What is it with the Army and headgear?

  4. I get it about Fallon, too.

    I know what I'm doing on Thanksgiving.
    It's a tradition.
    Beyond that, the other holidays leave me a bit bewildered.
    Except for St Patrick's Day... we're already planning for St Pat's here.

    I also get the bit about sons not calling unless there's something to report.

    1. Gee... it just occurred to me.
      I don't know to whom I should report.

    2. Us. Phone calls not required. Just regular comm checks in the comment blocks.

    3. @Skip - I dread the day I have no one to report to.

      @Juvat - if my son has posted on Facebook, he's fine. If I have posted on Facebook, I am fine. So Facebook is useful for that. (I personally enjoy Facebook, but I'm kinda goofy that way.)

  5. She had you at Fallon! Sounds like a great trip. You might have to crack open your IRA and 401K to pay for the tickets though. I purchased 4 to travel during Thanksgiving week and about had a heart attack. I'm sure it's worth the price of admission to honor tradition though.

    1. Shortly after I wrote the post, the Chez Sarge command authority vetoed the trip to California. I still hold out hope as The Missus Herself has vetoed stuff before only to have The WSO override the veto by providing us with tickets.

  6. With Son, DIL and Daughter all graduated and in jobs, coordinating holidays has become much more difficult. Additionally, there's the trading holidays between Us and the In-Laws. Last year, Thanksgiving occurred on a Friday and Christmas occurred in a rental property in Orlando. At this point, I'm just thankful we're all within a couple of hours driving distance and I can go over and have lunch with them on a moment's notice. Traditions are important as long as they don't devolve into going through the motions.

    1. Yes, the in-laws must be factored in. Only The WSO's in-laws are really in play and we get along with them just great.

      We have celebrated Christmas in November (for our grandson's first holiday season, they were here for Thanksgiving so we put the tree up early). Also last year we had Christmas at my Mom's on the 25th and Christmas in Michigan (at The WSO's in-laws) on the 27th.

      We have discovered that flexibility is a nice trait to have.

  7. If you come West, give me a shout. Missus ORPO and I are looking for something to do during the Xmass Holiday Season. Just the two of us.
    Father-Daughter PhonCon..............................
    I was getting my ballast train ready to unload in Carrollton, Texas on Winter day some years ago.........We had to pull it through a major arterial grade crossing at walking speed to allow me to make my list and connect the big cables where they were disconnected at the quarry.
    Cell phone rings...................The Youngest Daughter.
    Daughter: Where's Mom?
    Me: In Weatherford with John and Sheri(Old Navy Friends)
    Daughter: Why is she not answering her phone? (in an irritated tone)
    Me: I don't know
    Daughter: What are you doing? (same tone)
    Me: Getting my train ready to unload................................
    Daughter: Oops! Sorry Daddy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bye!
    Me: Bye Punkin!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Yep, I understand about Fallon.

    I travel to Texas for Christmas with my two brothers since our parents passed away. It is our own tradition now. We check in with each via texts, Facebook, and long phone calls.

    1. Fallon, not everyone will understand, only those who read the blog really felt that punch in the gut.

      Checking in with kin is important, no matter how it's done. Texas has much to offer. Just ask Juvat. ;-)

  9. Know Fallon, know why... And yeah, gotta let them start their 'own' traditions... I now spend Christmas at my daughter's rather than the other way around. But what the hey, it's only money...

    1. I'm thankful that my kids understand traditions and the need for having them. I guess we did something right when we were raising them.

      Heh, it is only money.

  10. OldAFSarge, going to Fallon would be checking in with family. Never meat space met him. Still tear up when I think about him.


Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)
Can't be nice, go somewhere else...

NOTE: Comments on posts over 5 days old go into moderation, automatically.