Last night was the Christmas party for Kurt’s command. I’d had high hopes for this thing, as we’d never had a bad experience with a Christmas party. The ships are usually really good about putting on a good party, so I was excited.
The party was held at the Officers’ Club this year, and we got there right as it started. There weren’t a whole lot of people there yet, but Kurt found a co-worker of his at one of the tables and introduced me to J and his wife P. Next to P was seated our across-the-street neighbor.
Yes, that’s right, folks. The first time I met my across-the-street neighbor was at the command Christmas party. He’s just moved here from Japan, having spent at least fifteen years over there bouncing from ship to ship. He’s married to a Japanese lady, but she hasn’t come to the States yet. She should arrive around the same time as their stuff in mid-January.
Right now this poor guy is living in a decent-sized house with no wife and very little in the way of stuff. He’s gotten a few things on loan from Family Services, so he’s not without at least the basics. But still. I informed him he was more than welcome over here, even if he just wants to hang out. I know how lonely it can be when your spouse is thousands of miles away.
During the opening ceremony, one of the Chiefs described the tradition of the table of the missing man. See, at every event like this, a table is set with one place at the table with various special and meaningful objects set there, and no one is seated at the table. Here is why:
The table is round — to show our everlasting concern for our missing men.
The tablecloth is white — symbolizing the purity of their motives when answering the call to duty.
The single red rose, displayed in a vase, reminds us of the life of each of the missing, and the[ir] loved ones and friends of these Americans who keep the faith, awaiting answers.
The vase is tied with a red ribbon, symbol of our continued determination to account for our missing.
A slice of lemon on the bread plate is to remind us of the bitter fate of those captured and missing in a foreign land.
A pinch of salt symbolizes the tears endured by those missing and their families who seek answers.
The Bible represents the strength gained through faith to sustain those lost from our country, founded as one nation under God.
The glass is inverted — to symbolize their inability to share this evening’s toast.
The chairs are empty — they are missing.
Let us now raise our water glasses in a toast to honor America’s POW/MIAs and to the success of our efforts to account for them.
It’s not the first time I’d heard that, but it makes me tear up each and every time.
The buffet was opened about an hour after we all got there. The food was actually incredibly good!! There were a ton of non-meat options on the menu, and I piled my plate so high with all the vegetables at the head of the buffet line that I had no room for meat. Only I didn’t notice that I was having a meat-less dinner till I got back to my seat!! They had these really yummy crunchy green beans with butter and almonds, roasted winter vegetables, mashed potatoes, tortellini in a cream sauce and vegetables, and this amazingly good seafood-in-a-cream-sauce dish. I did steal a bite from Kurt’s roast beef, and it was awesome. I was almost sad I didn’t get any.
The funniest part of the evening happened when the command presented the Commanding Officer with his Christmas present. He tore open the wrapping paper, much like a kid on Christmas morning, and flung it all over the dance floor. Then he pulled out a Boston Red Sox shirt, and he deflated. Apparently he’s a rabid Yankees fan, so it was just too funny that the command got him a Red Sox shirt.
Then the drawing for the door prizes was held. Our table did quite well. J won two prizes, and two more people at our table won prizes as well. One guest at our table won a DVD/VHS player, and another one of Kurt’s co-workers won a digital camera. Unfortunately we didn’t win anything, which is really surprising. This is the first party we’ve gone to that we didn’t win something. But there’s always next year.
Once the prizes were given away, the party broke up. Literally. And it was barely 9pm!! Most of our table went off to the VFW to drink, but Kurt and I weren’t sure if that’s what we wanted to do. We drove around a bit, trying to find something else to do, but couldn’t find anything.
I was so disappointed with this Christmas party. Kurt doesn’t really know anyone yet, and no one wanted to introduce themselves. Everyone sat at a table with their buddies and stayed with them. And there was no dancing! How can there be a party with no dancing?! The guy in charge of the music played a lot of Ozzy Osborne. While I love Ozzy as much as anyone, it’s not party music and definitely not conducive to dancing.
We came home and picked Grace up from our neighbors’ house — and stayed there a good two hours. They are such cool people!! They’re really sweet, and they’re really good to talk to. It was the best part of the entire evening!!
Grace didn’t go to bed till after midnight either. By the time she woke up this morning at 10:30am, she’d gotten sick in her crib. Poor girl!! As soon as we bathed her and dressed her, she seemed fine, so we gave her her normal breakfast of oatmeal and watered-down cranberry juice. An hour later, she got sick again. Kurt grabbed her just in time and launched her into the bathroom, so it was easy clean-up. But I felt so bad for her! She had lunch (toast and applesauce) about an hour and a half ago, and she’s kept that down. Hopefully, it was just something she ate over at Ms Cheez-It’s house that didn’t agree with her, and it’s out of her system. I had planned on going out and taking photos of the area today, but I guess that will just have to wait till tomorrow. Poor girl.