A Christmas Story That Will Make You Laugh Like Jolly Old Saint Nick

It’s funny how some of the least likely things that happen around the holidays happen to be the most important memories of your life. For the younger readers out there, it won’t always be the new phone or whatever expensive piece of electronics you unwrap this Christmas.

I said that so I could tell you good folks a story. It was many years ago, and I was very far away from home on Christmas. I was in the Navy and a much younger man than I am now. The notion of being away from home on Christmas was not something that I was exactly thrilled with, but it was my duty.

Fast forward to Christmas Eve about 1130 in the evening. I was going to be officially celebrating Christmas in a foreign land for the first time in my life. I had just gotten on watch and was joined by two other guys that worked in my department. We were sitting just idly talking about the various Christmas traditions that each of our families had when I got an idea. I grabbed the lookout headset and called up my counterpart on the bridge.

Whenever you see anything in the air or on the water you have to report it to the bridge. Deciding to have a little bit of fun I made the following report, “bridge, this is aft lookout. I would like to report an air contact bearing 150 heading starboard to port. It appears to be a red sleigh being driven by a jolly fat man. The vehicle also appears to be propelled by eight reindeer.”

At this point I suddenly realize that on the other end that the communication had just been heard on the speakers on the bridge and I can hear the officer of the deck and the conning officer stifling laughter like I had never heard before. It sounded like they were in the throes of some kind of spastic fit. At this point I hear my counterpart on the bridge go, “All right Richards, very funny. Anything else to report?”

“Yes,” I said, “One red light at the front.”

I don’t think I heard a group of folks come as unglued in my life, even when my counterpart on the bridge then had to repeat the entire report to the conning officer. It was a wave of laughter.

Later on that night, someone from the officer’s mess came up with this big tray of hotdogs. One of the officers on the bridge had gotten the mess folks to make a batch of them as a gift of some kind. I don’t remember much about the hotdog itself; but I sure as heck remember the sentiment behind it. I guess if there’s one thing that I can say when it comes to Christmas, it is truly the thought that counts. Merry Christmas all of you and God Bless.