Storytime #1: The Bird and the Christmas Tree

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We’re almost out of 2014; whether that’s a good or a bad thing is up to you. But the end is coming. And as we waste our hours until tomorrow night looking at articles like “2014’s Top Ten Pictures of Koalas wearing Funny Hats” (someone please write that for me), I’d like to divert your attention to something with a little more meat. Something that I can’t believe I haven’t done yet this year.

I started out as a fiction writer. In third grade, I wrote a short story about puppies. I can’t remember the plot for the life of me, but I do remember that they were attacked by an out-of-control model airplane and that one of them was named Spyro (I was an awesome eight-year-old). My first book came in fifth grade: a forty-page thing about a pilot with a talking dog that fought giant chipmunks and befriended super-intelligent toddlers.

It’s fun to write fiction, but it doesn’t take a lot to know that it’s hard to pay the bills as a fiction writer. So I don’t think it’s my calling. But it’s fun, and as it’s Christmastime I’m going to have fun.

I wrote this little half-thing after a scary experience on Christmas Eve night, when we were graced with an unexpected visitor. I present to you, for your possible pleasure, The Bird and the Christmas Tree:

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The Hallowed Field of Army/Navy

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Today, two teams of heroes will clash on the field of battle. Today, brother will fight against brother. Today, all feelings of unity will be set away for an afternoon of no-punches-pulled competition.

Today is the Army/Navy football game.

It’s hard to explain why this game is so special. I’ve asked many friends over the years and I’ve gotten many different answers, and they’re all valid:

This is a game that is fought by two teams of men who are so dedicated to a cause that they’re willing to give their lives to it.

This is a game that will pit a Squid son against his Grunt daddy.

This is a game that deserves its own hallowed Saturday afternoon all to itself — no other games are played today.

This is a game steeped in 115 years of tradition — played by organizations that care about tradition above almost everything else.

This is a game that kills the spirit of unity in the US Armed forces and allows us, for just a few hours, to play with the objective of victory instead of cooperation.

This is a game that represents millions and millions of people. The players on the field represent soldiers and sailors past, present and future, as well as their families and support groups.

This is a game that’s fair. Most colleges have football teams that are staffed by guys too big to even be in the service, and this game eliminates that disadvantage.

This is not a game. This is a war, and we take it very seriously.

This is your year, Black Knights. Go ARMY, beat Navy!