Sunday, December 23, 2012


Christmas Eve in Kandahar, Afghanistan - When I took on this gig, I had planned that I would be here for the holidays.

It may still be December 23rd back home, but here, it is already December 24th.

I posted this a while back and it bears posting again. It was the first time I was away from home on Christmas.  Enjoy and Merry Christmas Eve !!

HOW THE GRINCH STOLE THE SEABEES GRAVEL...A Seabee Christmas story from Iraq in 2004

 8 years ago, I was in Iraq with the Seabees - It was Christmas and we were doing the job we were assigned -
Helping rebuild Iraq.

One of the things we needed more than anything else was GRAVEL - It was needed to firm up the muddy areas and allow construction to occur -

No Gravel - No ability to build - A big problem -

On Christmas Eve, I sent this to all my fellow Seabees -

It was my way of getting them to see that Christmas was a time for us to be thankful for all we have and to allow the season to make our hearts light...Being away from home and staioned in Iraq was a tough assignment, but we could make sure that Christmas was still the day that we celebrate the birth of our Savior...

I share this with you in that same spirit - I have much to be thankful for -

I have my wife, who is the best part of my life. I have good family, good friends and a faith that we have been blessed by the LORD.

I hope that all of you enjoy Christmas, Hanukkah and the Holidays and take stock of what we have been given.....We have all been blessed.

Middleboro Jones

by Dr Seuss (with help from Middleboro Jones)
Every Seabee
Down in Seabee-ville
Liked Gravel a lot...

But the Grinch,
Who lived just North of Seabee-ville,
Did NOT!

The Grinch hated Gravel!
Now, please don't ask why. No one quite knows the reason.
It could be that his head wasn't screwed on quite right.
It could be, perhaps, that his shoes were too tight.

But I think that the most likely reason of all
May have been that his heart was two sizes too small.

Whatever the reason,
His heart or his shoes,
He stood there on Christmas Eve, hating the Seabees,

Staring down from his cave with a sour, Grinchy frown
At the warm lighted windows below in their town.
For he knew every Seabee down in Seabee-ville beneath
Was busy now, working on their CESE.

"And they're waiting on a convoy!" he snarled with a sneer.
"Tomorrow they’ll expect more gravel ! It's practically here!"

Then he growled, with his grinch fingers nervously drumming,
"I MUST find a way to keep Gravel from coming!"

For, tomorrow, he knew...

...All the Seabees
Would wake up bright and early.
And then! Oh, the noise! Oh, the noise! Noise! Noise! Noise!
That's one thing he hated! The NOISE! NOISE! NOISE! NOISE!

Then the Seabeess, young and old, would sit down to a feast.
And they'd feast! And they'd feast!
They would start on Seabee-pudding, and rare Seabee-roast-beast
Which was something the Grinch couldn't stand in the least!

And the more the Grinch thought of the Seabee gravel coming
The more the Grinch thought, "I must stop this whole thing!
"Why for many years I've put up with it now!
I MUST stop Gravel from coming!
...But HOW?"

Then he got an idea!
An awful idea!

"I know just what to do!" The Grinch Laughed in his throat.
And he made a quick Santy Claus hat and a coat.
And he chuckled, and clucked, "What a great Grinchy trick!
"With this coat and this hat, I'll look just like Saint Nick!"

"All I need is a reindeer..."
The Grinch looked around.
But since reindeer are scarce, there was none to be found.
Did that stop the old Grinch...?
No! The Grinch simply said,
"If I can't find a reindeer, I'll make one instead!"

So he called his dog Max. Then he took some red thread
And he tied a big horn on top of his head.

He loaded some bags
And some old empty sacks
On a ramshakle sleigh
And he hitched up old Max.

Then the Grinch said, "Giddyap!"

And the sleigh started down
Toward the hooches where the Seabees
Lay a-snooze in their hooches.

All their windows were dark. Quiet snow filled the air.
All the Seabees were all dreaming sweet gravel dreams without care

When he came to the first house in the square.
"This is stop number one," The old Grinchy Claus hissed

Then he slunk to the icebox. He took the Seabeess' feast!
He took the Seabee-pudding! He took the roast beast!
He cleaned out that icebox as quick as a flash.
Why, that Grinch even took their last can of Seabee-hash!

Then he stuffed all the food up the chimney with glee.
"And NOW!" grinned the Grinch, "I will make sure no gravel arrives…

And the Grinch grabbed the DSN line, and started to call

When he heard a small sound like the coo of a dove.
He turned around fast, and he saw a small Seabee!
Little Seabee Burke, who was not more than 22.

The Grinch had been caught by this little Seabee daughter
Who'd got out of bed for a cup of cold water.
She stared at the Grinch and said, "Santy Claus, why,
"Why are you taking our Gravel? WHY?"

But, you know, that old Grinch was so smart and so slick
He thought up a lie, and he thought it up quick!

"Why, my sweet little Seabee," the fake Santy Claus lied,
"There's a stone in this gravel, that’s sharp on one side.
"So I'm taking it home to my workshop, my dear.
"I'll fix it up there. Then I'll bring gravel back here."

And his fib fooled the Seabee. Then he patted her head
And he got her a drink and he sent her to bed.
And when Seabee Burke went to bed with her cup,
He went to DSN line and called the gravel convoy off!

Then the last thing he took
Was the log for their fire.
Then he went up the chimney himself, the old liar.
On their walls he left nothing but hooks, and some wire.

And the one speck of food
That he left in the house
Was a crumb that was even too small for a mouse.

He did the same thing
To the other Seabees

Leaving crumbs
Much too small
For the other Seabees' mouses!

It was quarter past dawn...
All the Seabees, still a-bed
All the Seabees, still a-snooze
When he packed up his sled,
Packed it up with their gravel!

"Pooh-pooh to the Seabees!" he was grinch-ish-ly humming.
"They're finding out now that no gravel coming!
"They're just waking up! I know just what they'll do!
"Their mouths will hang open a minute or two
"The all the Seabeess down in Seabee-ville will all cry BOO-HOO!"

"That's a noise," grinned the Grinch,
"That I simply must hear!"
So he paused. And the Grinch put a hand to his ear.
And he did hear a sound rising over the snow.
It started in low. Then it started to grow...

But the sound wasn't sad!
Why, this sound sounded merry!
It couldn't be so!
But it WAS merry! VERY!

He stared down at Seabee-ville!
The Grinch popped his eyes!
Then he shook!
What he saw was a shocking surprise!

Every Seabee down in Seabee-ville, the tall and the small,
Was working! Without any gravel at all!
He HADN'T stopped gravel from coming!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!

And the Grinch, with his grinch-feet ice-cold in the snow,
Stood puzzling and puzzling: "How could it be so?
It came from the country of Jordan, not local at all,

Those damn Seabees didn’t have to go that far after all!

And he puzzled three hours, `till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before!
"Maybe gravel," he thought, "doesn't come from a Marshalling area.
"Maybe gravel...perhaps...means a little bit more!"

And what happened then...? Seabee-ville they say
That the Grinch's small heart
Grew three sizes that day!

And the minute his heart didn't feel quite so tight,
He whizzed with his load through the bright morning light
And he brought back the gravel! And the food for the feast!
And he...

The Grinch carved the roast beast!

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