Thanksgiving time in our family is special. When our girls were little, we would go away for Thanksgiving weekend to avoid the hassle of deciding at which set of parents we would spend the holiday. This was one holiday for the four of us. However, after joining the Air Force and moving away, we looked to new traditions. The traditions often included having friends and co-workers over – anyone who needed a place to go. Even after our own children were out of the house, we still invited “strays” for the holiday.
However, Thanksgiving 2010, Dave was in Djibouti and I was home alone. Thankfully, as a stray, another chaplain invited me to join his family and Dave celebrated at Camp Lemonnier. Although surrounded by friends, it was still a lonely time for both of us.
“I was feeling a little lonely today, missing Vicki and family,” he wrote in his journal.
Dave said the camp and the Bob Hope Dining Hall celebrated Thanksgiving with people dressed in Pilgrim costumes, decorations, and the traditional turkey dinner with all the fixings. He also served dinner to the troops for about two hours and said, “It was fun to do chaplain things versus office things.”When he met a Navy nurse who graduated from our alma mater, Western Illinois University, and was just a few years older than our girls were, it reminded him of the good times we had as a family.
Even thousands of miles away, in very different environments, we can still thank the Lord for what we have and help each other out, knowing we are never truly alone.