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You Can Count On Me

Dear Editor,

Originally recorded in 1970, the song “Merry Christmas Darling” was a hit.

The song, written in the fall of 1970 by Karen Carpenter, her husband Richard, and one Frank Pooler, was released on a 7-inch single that year by A&M records. The song was number one on the billboards in late 1970 and also in 1971 and 1973.

In my heart there is no other song, and never will be, that brings back so much memory! It just so happens that those were the years I spent in the Middle East serving our nation. Being 6,031 miles from home at any time is a real bummer, but being away from home at Christmas time is a real heart breaker!

From June 1970 to June 1972, I suffered through two of the hardest Christmas times in my entire life. As any veteran out there can tell you, not being home for the Christmas season with family and loved ones will cause you to cry a river that most all our blessed veterans understand.

I still have that recording on cassette tape that I played over and over again, and how it survived all these years is beyond me. Passed from one veteran to another on board that old Navy ship, everyone on that boat knew who Karen Carpenter was, and she was our darling from start to finish. While my brothers in arms served their time in those steamy jungles in Vietnam, or in Germany, Japan or the Aleutian Islands, we all felt that internal sting of being away from home at Christmas — away from our moms and dads, sisters and brothers, our grandmothers and grandfathers, but mostly that beautiful girlfriend or wife that waited patiently at home for our return. Hundreds of letters I still have in a shoe box, treasured as gold. Those cassette tapes hidden away with voices of young lovers sharing their feelings, hopes and dreams. It’s so very sad that how we feel at Christmas cannot be shown throughout the whole year. Maybe that’s why we cherish the Christmas season so much. We can let down our guard and our gruff exteriors and allow our childhood memories of yesteryear to shine through. A hug here, a tear there, the real joy that we somehow lose track of through most of the year. We all get so busy living, we quickly forget what’s really important about our lives.

One thing for certain, this Christmas season of 2019, I’ll be home for Christmas and you can count on me. Merry Christmas to all veterans serving worldwide and all the veterans home side. May peace be with you who love our Ohio Valley, and home! God bless!

Rich Lucas

Flushing

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