Remembering A Bootcamp Christmas

It’s too good to be true, Ron’s nativity scene from the Camino. Sugar packets from his Café con leche. (photo Ron Angert)

The year was 1966 and there I was, there we were, at infamous Parris Island, South Carolina. This takes the cake for my craziest Christmas ever. They say there is the right way and the wrong way and the Marine Corps way and I was definitely armpit deep in the Marine Corps way.

Actually I was there for the whole holiday season including Thanksgiving. The program was twelve weeks long down from sixteen weeks during peacetime. The leader of these merry times was my Chief Drill Instructor Staff Sergeant Everette MacDonald. I actually tracked him down a while back and talked to him for an hour just before he died. My knees were shaking the whole time.

But I just really want to tell you about the Christmas “Party” that Sgt Mac Donald threw for us. For weeks packages had been arriving from various guys mom’s with goodies. We looked on with joy. They were all carefully stacked in one particular closet. Then sometime at the appropriate time we were informed that it was time for the party. We were aglow as the boxes were laid out before us.

All the Assistant Drill Instructors were there for the festivities. And the announcement was made that training commenced in ten minutes so we had 9 minutes and some seconds to finish all this stuff up. One hundred and seven guys ripped into this mound of boxes and started stuffing things in our mouths. There were boxes from maybe all the States, Canada, Mexico, Indian reservations included. No one knew whose Mom’s stuff was whose which was kind of a Holy Communion in itself. I remember eating half a dozen candy bars wrappers and all. It was nuts but we survived and had a “good time”.

Just a little cheery glimpse into Marine Corps training holiday type. It was always challenging, demanding and included some sort of spiritual/ historic component. Also, it was largely geared to teach how to operate in environments that don’t make sense. I just wanted to throw this paragraph in because I think that this is key in dealing with cancer. Cancer does not make sense, no way. But somehow I have an advantage and have been able to operate there, just a thought.

cheery holiday loves, Felipé.