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On the Feast of Stephen ...

For the Feast of St. Stephen, Dec. 28, a memory from Spouse Calls Christmas past:

It wasn’t very deep and crisp and even, but snow did lie ‘round about, as we drove away from Prague, the birthplace of King Wenceslas.

Voices of the old year

My digital recorder is a repository of conversations with people across the spectrum of military life who have shared their stories, wisdom and experience for my column.
As the old year was drawing to a close, the recorder reached maximum capacity.

Reluctantly, I realized I needed to clear out the old to make room for new stories and a New Year. It was a good time to again hear the voices of those who contributed to Spouse Calls in 2011.

Military family tree

Christmas trees, like any decor, follow fashion trends that vary year to year. Perhaps people who live in the same place for long stretches like to change up their Yuletide tree style to keep things fresh: Funky neon-colored ornaments one year, vintage glass the next. Patriotic ornaments were all the rage about 10 years ago.

Military families occasionally like an updated look, too, but it seems we, as a group, favor the traditional tree and the comfort of the familiar.

Peace on Earth?

The vice president took a trip to Iraq last month to mark the end of the war there, or at least the end of U.S. involvement in whatever conflict remains. And it does remain. All U.S. troops will be headed home by the end of this month, a late Christmas present for a war-weary military community.

But peace proves elusive. U.S. troop strength no longer needed in Iraq will likely be redirected to Afghanistan or the Pacific, where concerns are rising about China’s booming economy and unknown military intentions.

Darrell's dream

Michelle Conner wrote me from California seeking ways to connect with military members with whom she and her husband could share their holiday celebration.

“We want to share bountiful holiday meals … wall to wall, floor to ceiling decorations, the Christmas tree, the cookies, the music and our love and appreciation,” she wrote. She said they would also like to play Santa for a military family in need.