Pine Bluff News
By Pat Matheny
We didn’t get into much Christmas decorating this year. We don’t have any little ones any more to really get us into the spirit of the season. I stuck some of those projection lights around the house and bought a 32” white fiber optic Christmas tree for display. The only effort involved was plugging in extension cords. I’ll stuff the tree back in the 5 x 5 x 27 inch box when done (5” base). That should simplify things and save space.
Our family will be gathering here on Christmas Eve. As usual, I’ll throw some logs in the fireplace, open the damper (I’ve forgotten that little procedure a few times) and get a roaring fire going while praying there’s no bird nest in the chimney. And, as usual, around 8 pm everybody will be opening the outside doors trying to cool the house down. Our dinner is being planned and prepared by #3 Shane, #2 Phillip, and our Santana. They are preparing a fancy and exotic meal so this should be very interesting. I’m a meat and potatoes type of guy…biscuits and gravy are at the top of the list too.
Time to reminisce: On Christmas Day ’65, our aviation company stood down so we could watch the Bob Hope show that was being performed on the Bien Hoa Airbase, SVN. The show is a memory that I still carry with me to this day. Also, that’s when I learned the true meaning of the song, “I’ll be home for Christmas”. I would like to share with you the following that was sent to me by fellow Crew Chief and dear friend Don Roof at Christmas time 2010.
“Pat: Every year at this time, I can’t help but thinking of the time that I spent in Vietnam. In some ways that was the best Christmas and New Year of my life. A lot of good things have come my way since then – but somehow they don’t mean as much. If you remember, Bob Hope always closed his Christmas Shows with his cast leading the troops gathered in singing “Silent Night”. I remember looking around at the guys singing and there weren’t many dry eyes in the whole group. That was probably the most emotional moment that I have experienced in my entire life. Also, the New Years Eve celebration in the Gunslingers Club was equally a memory that I still carry with me today. I will enjoy this year again with my family and friends and appreciate how fortunate I am to have what I have in my life – but my mind always returns to Bien Hoa and all you guys and camaraderie we shared that year. We left some 58,000 guys just like us behind, and you as well as I know that their sacrifice was not in vain and they will never be forgotten. As long as someone remembers you – you never really die.”
“God bless you, Suzy, and your children and I hope you all have a “MERRY CHRISTMAS and HAPPY NEW YEAR.”
One final thought; don’t ever stop believing in the jolly old elf, because if you remember back, when you quit believing in Santa Claus was when you started getting socks and underwear for Christmas presents.
Susie said to tell everyone to have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year…and so do it.
Until next time, have a great two weeks and remember our Veterans.