Many men among were brought up in some type of church, the vast majority of us having something to do with one of the types of Christianity. (Bare with me, I knew one guy who claimed to be a jew but he ate bacon and lied about everything else in his life. I also gave a pass to the one guy I thought was a muslim. I saw that dude get drunk and do all sorts of zany things.
I generally was skiddish growing up when it came to all things pagan. The evangelicals called everything not outwardly “holy” Satanic. As if ordained by the dark lord himself. I learned that this was foolish. I knew a few pagans that fooled around with it. Most observed ethics better than we did. I had a place of honor in my heart for them. I also had a place of honor for those celebrations and festivals that our previous ancestors held.
I made an argument to many other European american Christians that it was folly that we forgot our roots. We were thankful for a harvest. We were thankful for being fruitful and fertility. We celebrated and mourned in the right amounts. We had a festival or ceremony for everything.
I remembered this during times in the Navy. It is one thing that we did silly routine out of tradition and not knowing it. But we failed to have decompressing events to celebrate the end of deployments and to be thankful that we didnt lose anyone.
At the end of my last deployment, we got sidetracked to Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo). There was a hurricane and we needed a safe harbor to wait it out. It also happened to be a time to relax for most of the crew.
We found ourselves getting inebriated and doing all sorts of mayhem. I knew folks that stole gold carts and went tear assing around various mudholes, later abandoned in sand traps. Most of us ended up at either the enlisted club or the officer’s club, (I had already been asked to leave one establishment because the bartender was hooking for a scrap). The booze was cheap and we didn’t have to drive. I saw people that I knew as the hardest workers taking a well deserved break. (RIP one of those guys is gone now and one was in jail a few years ago). We got shitfaced and relaxed at the end of our deployment. I was laughing and happy to see some of our relatively new NCOs putting their elbows up.
When the storm passed, we wrapped up a somewhat successful “go”. It served as an ending for some of us. We went our own ways. But it also served as a way that we handed the reins to some of the junior guys. It was something to celebrate and to mourn. I was thankful to have experienced it.