|'Twas the night before Christmas, compartments were still,
The sailors were sleeping, as most sailors will.
The ditty bags hung by the lockers with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there
The men were all peacefully dreaming in bed
As visions of liberty danced in each head.
The Chief in his skivvies, hopped into his rack,
Having just came from town and a quick midnight snack.
When out on the deck there arose such a roar,
I ran to the porthole to find out the score.
I stuck out my head and started to shout,
"Just what in the world is this noise all about?"
A moon made for boondocking showed with a glow,
It was downright cold out, 'bout seven below.
What I saw out there looked like those Mardi Gras floats,
'Twas a Captain's gig drawn by four white Navy goats.
In the boat was a man who seemed quiet and moody,
I knew in an instant St. Nick had the duty.
As quickly as Monday his billy goats came,
He whistled and shouted and called them by name.
"Now Perry, now Farragut, Dewey and Jones,
What's the matter John Paul, got lead in your bones?
A little to Starb'rd, now hold it up short,
No fluffing off now, or you'll go on report!"
He was wearing dress "Reds" that fit like a charm,
His hash marks they covered the length of his arm.
The gifts to be issued were all in his pack,
The gedunk was ready to leave on each rack.
His eyes they were watering, his nose caked with ice,
He wiped it with canvass, then sneezed once or twice.
He opened his mouth and started to yawn,
It looked like the Sun coming up with the dawn.
The stump of a pipe, he held tight in his teeth,
And took a small nip from a bottle beneath
He wasn't so big, but he must have been strong,
I figured he'd been in SEALs early and long.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old Tar,
Who said "Evenin' Matey, here have a cigar."
He filled every seabag with presents galore,
And left us all leave papers, right by the door.
With "Anchors Aweigh" he climbed back into place,
A broad smile was creeping all over his face.
One look at his watch and he started to frown,
"This mid watch is certainly getting me down."
Then out to the breakwater and into the night,
The gig started fading, the landscape was bright.
"Merry Christmas" he said, as he drove on his way,
Now I'll finish my rounds and sack in for the day."
Contributed by Don Wall