CHIPALATTA

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Special Christmas memories from Dan


by Dan Peschong

Over the years I’ve had wonderful and not so wonderful memories at Christmas. I remember being so happy getting an electric train when I was 5 years old and very few things will match the extremely rare Christmas Eve snow in Sugar Land in 2004 – which had us tossing snowballs while dressed to the hilt for evening services.

On the other end of the spectrum was the year when I woke up in the early morning of Christmas Eve with a terrible stomach virus that then swept through the house. After many weeks of choir practices I spent Midnight Mass flat on my back – nauseous and disappointed. The worst Christmas was probably a few months after my father passed away in 2001 – a very empty and haunting time.

But the most memorable Christmas for me was the one I spent without my family in 2003. I had taken an engineering assignment in Iraq right after the quick war ended in May – unfortunately the guerilla war and terrorist attacks went on and on. Christmas fell right in the middle of one of my 12 week on shifts. A large contingent of technical workers were living in Kuwait City at that time because our camp in Iraq was not complete and we would “commute” into south Iraq and work in the Rumaliah oil fields every day.

We were working 7 days a week but were going to be off on Christmas Day. Because we were on per diem – the company did not put together a party for that day off as they would have to show it as taxable income. So, I led an effort to put together a small Christmas party for those stuck away from home. It turned out to be a fun event – we collected some donations and went to the local supermarket and brought in some staples – sandwiches, meats, cheeses, chips and treats. But as Christmas day developed, the party goers showed up with surprises – the Indian guys bringing cultural goodies like samosas, the Chinese folks bringing in egg rolls etc.

We had a lovely meal and since this was done in a mini-conference room that doubled as our entertainment room – we had a TV with a DVD player. My wife had sent me some of my favorite holiday movies in a wonderful care package before the party. One of the most memorable things in my life, was sitting with men and women from around the world and seeing their reaction to watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” and Patrick Stewart in “A Christmas Carol” for the first time. It was an experience I will never forget and will carry me to the end of my days and holidays.

So, any Christmas memories anyone else would like to share with their blogging friends?

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About Dan P

Dan Peschong is a full time engineer and a long time Astros lover from the days of Joe Morgan to the days of Jose Altuve.

20 comments on “Special Christmas memories from Dan

  1. 1oldpro
    December 24, 2013

    I remember the huge family dinners with great turkey and bad wine. Now, my wife and I try to carry on that tradition and have great turkey and bad wine because good wine won’t cut it.
    Looked on facebook this morning and discovered that one of my children, who is a cop, saved a life last night, and, of course never said a word to us. We found out from friends talking about it. I am so full of joy today. We tried so hard to raise a good family. Merry Christmas to everyone

    Like

    • Dan P
      December 24, 2013

      Thanks for sharing 1 oldpro – bad wine and good memories.
      What a great story about your son. Some person and their family received a special Christmas gift through the actions of your son. God bless all those who serve and protect!

      Like

  2. Becky
    December 24, 2013

    The last time we had all of our children together was 1995. I always had
    a tradition that as we toasted how blessed we were to have such good kiddos, I ask everyone to tell of a great accomplishment that year……….
    only to be told our oldest son was going to OCS in the Navy. He has never looked back on that decision……I have, however had many sleepless nights! Our children are scattered throughout the country
    as are our 9 grandchildren! We Skype our grandkids on Christmas morning, since I have not been able to travel because of my back.
    I’m thankful that Chip led us out of the dark, and chose to continue this wonderful blog! Merry Christmas to every one of you, and I hope you get alittle extra surprise under the tree!! Don’t forget to kiss the cook tomorrow!

    Like

  3. Becky
    December 24, 2013

    1oldpro……..Give your son an extra hug for us for his service for catching the bad guys, and saving lives!!

    Like

  4. Dan P
    December 24, 2013

    Becky – Merry Christmas – and bless your kids and grandkids around the globe. I have 4 sons – one is in Australia (and his Christmas day has already begun) two live in Austin area (went to visit them and the grand daughter this weekend) and one is home with us in college.
    Blessings to Mary and me – every day.
    Yes – this is a lot more fun than the chron.com blog – it belongs to “us” over here. Blessings to Chip even if he lives in Louisiana – haha!

    Like

  5. devin_
    December 24, 2013

    DanP – you’ve left me at a loss for words. Here’s the thing – I have memories from every Christmas. None would register as unique against the stories the regulars will post here, however, so let me instead offer my most sincere well-wishes to all for the coming year. 2014 is going to be another ugly sports year, but with a little luck (and possibly some blood pressure medication for Bo Porter) we should make it through.

    Like

    • Dan P
      December 24, 2013

      Devin – thanks for chiming in – really hope you have a great Christmas, memorable or not.

      Like

  6. Astro45
    December 24, 2013

    Merry Christmas to everyone. When I post on here, I forget sometimes it is real people with real lives. Thanks for putting up with a cranky ole man. As to my favorite Christmas story, it was 2000 years ago in Bethlehem – and it never gets old to me. Did have a little girl come up to me in church the other day and ask “Did you personally know Jesus?”

    Like

    • Dan P
      December 24, 2013

      Astro 45 – wonderful long ago story and funny as heck recent story.

      Like

    • 1oldpro
      December 24, 2013

      Merry Christmas, Astro45.

      Like

  7. daveb
    December 25, 2013

    I was just thinking about you oldpro, and how you’ve been feeling health wise. Thanks for telling us how your Christmas has already been a special one. And thanks for being a parent. For every good new soul you’ve created, our world becomes a better place. Becky, you’ve been on my mind too. Don’t be shocked. I’ve quietly prayed a bit for you, as I know you’ve had a bit of a health scare.

    I’m just home from our traditional Christmas Eve family gathering, i think 29 of us this year, dinner and drink and gift giving, highlighted by the announcement from my niece and her husband that they are having their first child in the new year. As our family we grows older, we grow younger too!

    And to you Chip, and Dan, and Brian, and to all of the others here, including you too Bo Weaver, peace and health. And to all a good night!

    Like

    • Dan P
      December 25, 2013

      Nice sentiments daveb – family is always number one and friends even blog friends are right behind.
      The power of prayer is important and sharing that part of your life with strangers is powerful statement of your faith.
      As Tiny Tim (the character not the alleged singer) would say – God bless us every one.

      Like

  8. Becky
    December 25, 2013

    HO! HO! HO!!! MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!!

    Like

    • Dan P
      December 25, 2013

      Yes – Joy to the World!

      Like

  9. Becky
    December 25, 2013

    Tanaka watch is ON!!!!!

    Like

    • Dan P
      December 26, 2013

      My son Adam says that Die Hard is his favorite Christmas movie – isn’t the company in that movie Tanaka?
      Oh well – I don’t think we will be involved in this negotiation – I mean who wants a young pitcher coming off a 24-0 and 1.20 or so ERA year?

      Like

  10. Astro45
    December 27, 2013

    I looked Christmas morning, yesterday morning and again this morning. In my stocking, there was no starting pitcher, closer, or utility infielder. I hope they were in someone else’s stocking.

    Like

    • Bo Weaver
      December 27, 2013

      …or TV deal.

      Like

      • Dan P
        December 27, 2013

        Bo – i think that would be covered in that Christmas classic – “Miracle on Crawford St.”

        Like

    • Dan P
      December 27, 2013

      About the only stockings getting those kind of gifts are the Red Stockings up in Boston.

      Like

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This entry was posted on December 24, 2013 by in General, LIFE.
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