And I was mad. All my Marines were too busy to help, the contest was in a few days, and I was five months pregnant.
But what really made me mad was this comment - "Don't embarrass the Colonel" meaning my battalion commander. That implied that winning wasn't a concern.
After stewing a bit, I redirected my anger and told my company clerk, "Call the other companies for help. And get the command vehicle - we're going to scout out the other battalions' decorations. We're going to win."
We decided to decorate our front lawn with a Christmas bivouac (pronounced biv-wack) - a Marine campsite. We'd set up a few shelter halves, some lights, tinsel, a Christmas tree...
But word got around our battalion, and...
- A marine used sandbags to build a fireplace.
- Another marine "borrowed" concertina wire - (front above.)
- All sorts of trinkets and uniform items were donated as decorations.
- Two marines built a porta-potty, with an old toilet seat...and talked a civilian contractor into painting it.
Although I was given credit for what happened, it wasn't really my doing. Marines are always looking for amusement from the sameness of everyday life.
And then again, I have to think, there's something about Christmas that touches the heart and brings joy, comfort, and hope. The baby in the manger, Jesus, God incarnate...He may not be front and center in today's Christmas decorations and plans. But deep inside of us, there's a longing and a knowledge and a hope, that just maybe, that baby is the savior of the world.
*The contest was sponsored by the base's recreation/morale department. We won $125 for a battalion picnic.