My Favorite Holiday Memory

A story by David T. Daniels

My favorite holiday memory took place in the war year of 1944. I was, as an infantry man, engaged in battle in France and Germany. This began in July. When Thanksgiving arrived in November we had not eaten a hot meal for over three months. Those cold meals were known as C and K rations. On that date we were surprised to see trucks arrive and take us from the frontline. This was done with a squad at a time. We were served a wonderful hot turkey dinner and good ole pumpkin pie. Even though we ate sitting on cold ground, this meal shall always be remembered. In October I received a letter from Mom informing me that she was sending a fruitcake for Christmas. What a joy to hear! She was absolutely famous for her cakes that were cooked in an oven of a wood burning stove. She said that the military had advised all to allow shipping time of 4 to 6 weeks for overseas Christmas. Mid-December came about and no fruitcake had arrived. Then on December 15th I was seriously wounded with two short hospital stays in France, and then a two month hospital stay in England. I recovered and around the first of March I was sent back to the front. I had completely forgotten about that fruitcake. We were in light combat until the war’s end on May 20th. In four days time we were rushed home with troop ships arriving in the States in mid-June. With a 30 day leave at home I had to inform my poor mother that the fruitcake got lost. The general sentiment was that hopefully someone enjoyed it somewhere. From home I reported to Camp Shelby in Mississippi. This was our combat-ready camp for the invasion of Japan. Thank goodness that invasion did not occur. We bombed two cities in Japan and that prompted a surrender. The war ended on August 18th. Two days later my fruitcake arrived at Camp Shelby. Can you imagine what a long trip it took trying to catch up with me? The container was a strong cardboard box and it was crushed with large cracks. It was in no condition to eat, so it was tossed into the garbage. Discharged in November, I was home at Christmas preparing to go back to college. My mother made sure I ate plenty of fruitcake that Christmas.

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 atomic bomb,C Rations,fruitcake,hot meal,Japan,K Rations,pumpkin pie,turkey
  France, Germany
Feb 28 2024

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