I know a lot of my readers are located in countries other than the U.S., but I hope you’ll indulge me for a moment for a non-technical post.
When I was 18, I joined the U.S. Air Force, and my first base was in the United Kingdom at R.A.F. Lakenheath. It was my first time away from home as an independent person, my first trip overseas, and my first military assignment. Each year in the U.S. we celebrate “Thanksgiving” – a time traditionally spent with family, a big meal, and all the drama that goes with both. When you’re stationed overseas, if your family isn’t with you, you eat at the chow hall with the other 18-year olds who are away from home (which can be wonderful as well), but you really miss the family, especially the first time away from home, and in a place that’s different than where you grew up. It’s a difficult time for some. Me? I introduced some British friends to Cornish game hens and mashed potatoes – the closest I could get to turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce. But I sure missed the Holiday traditions.
This year I’d like to challenge you to “embiggen” your family a bit. Contact a military base, station or the like near you (We live close to Joint Base Lewis-McChord) and ask for the Base Chapel or Family Services. Ask them if you can offer your home (and your insane family) to a young Airman, Marine, Soldier or Sailor for the day. Pick them up, and make sure to immerse them in the madness. It’s something they won’t forget soon.