It's 1 AM on the East Coast - Merry Christmas to all of the EGB - and if you don't celebrate it, that's okay - my wishes for all of you to have good times with your families and friends this time of year are for everyone.
I am proud and honored to be part of the Barracks, and to know so many good people who keep doing the right thing every day; may you all find peace, happiness and prosperity now and in in 2015, and may each day be better than the day before.
I am going to catch some shut-eye now, and in a few hours get up, drive a few hours, and celebrate Christmas with my family (they're in NY, I'm in CT). Family get-togethers aren't always perfect, but they're usually fun - and at the end of the day, if no cops or ambulances were involved, it really was a good day overall!
It may be a little strained at first - my sister's husband's brother (her brother in law) will be dropping in after a 9 month separation from all of us. He did something stupid, and compounded it by lying and doing more stupid things - and earlier in the year it all turned to shit and he - and his family - were, for the most part, shunned by all. But now, after a lot of time and thought, and for the sake of his kids and the rest of the family, we have put out the olive branch and decided that it's time to try to be a family again. The ground rules were simple - we do NOT talk about the past; what's done is done. We talk about the kids, and their lives and futures, and where everyone is heading in 2015. We live for the moment, and realize that tomorrow is never guaranteed, and when it comes to family, unless there's a truly unforgivable crime committed (and in this case, there wasn't) family needs to stick with family. Jobs will come and go, and so will most friends - but your family is your heart, and you can't let that break apart and die.
Unfortunately, during the time he was estranged, his father passed away. He had been sick for a while, but because of the stupid feud, he kept putting off his visits. Now it's too late...the only time he saw his father this year was in a coffin at the funeral home. So many things unsaid, so many regrets that can't be forgiven - all because of a few stupid choices, BTW, his father never pushed him out - he chose not to visit to avoid contact with the rest of the family.
With that said, I say to all of you here - MY extended family - if you haven't spoken to a family member in a while, think hard as to why you haven't - and if you can find it in your heart, reach out and break the silence. Don't wait for the other person to call - you could run out of time and never get the chance to make it right again.
Now, go have some fun - enjoy yourselves, your loved ones, your friends and family. Be merry, and make good memories; for one day, you'll look back, and these will be your "good old days".
All requests for shore leave have been granted - see you when you get back!