My Dad, Paul Rush, was in the United States Navy for two Christmases.
Both 1943 and 1944 he was gone to war as Signalman 3rd class. He died when I was very young, just eleven years old. Found among his belongings was a re-telling of The Night Before Christmas. You will notice a few rhyming challenges, but hey! This was wartime. It took me many years to realize he must have copied it from a soldier friend because it speaks about the camp and a tent. My Dad was on a ship as far as I know!
My father-in-law was enlisted in the United States Army and missed three Christmases of 1943-1945. So I post this in honor of both of them. They spent those Christmas seasons away from loved ones, as do many military personnel today. May we remember them in our prayers.
Here is a scanned copy of one side. Then I will type it out for you.
“The Night Before Christmas”
It was night before Christmas, and through the camp yard Not a creature was stirring – except the poor guards. My stocking was tucked in my shoes to save space And, besides, my tent doesn’t have a fireplace. My friend in his shorts, and I in my shoes Had just settled down for a nice tropic snooze. When out in the area there arose a great clatter That I sprang from my cot to see what was the matter. I became so entangled in my mosquito net That, if my friend hadn’t helped me, I’d be struggling yet. And then, very cautiously I pulled back the flaps Half expecting to see a battalion of Japs. Just imagine my amazement when I saw instead, The famous St. Nicholas, in his suit of bright red. He sat in his sled, which was pulled by six Jeeps And they bounced along gaily in short bounds and leaps. They came to a halt, and away Santa went – And then very suddenly he was there in my tent. He was chuckling so merrily that his little fat belly Just like in the other poem, was shaking like jelly. And then I thought sure that this was a gag When I noticed his toy sack was a blue barracks bag! But he reached in the bag, and without hesitation Turned to my tent mate with a pack of “K” ration; And then for me – lucky guy that I am – He dug in again – and came up with Spam He followed this quickly with de-hydrated potatoes, And then he produced a can of tomatoes. And then with the remark he had work to do, He raised a plump finger and up he flew. I dashed to the tent flap and was able to see Him get in his sled as he waved back to me. “Away Willys,” “On Ford,” was his cry in the night – And in no time at all he was clear out of sight So it was with reluctance I got back in bed And thought of the things St. Nicholas had said. I’ll still have a laugh when I’m ancient and old At the thought of St. Nick sliding down the tent fold. That’s all there is to it. The story is through, But before I sign off, here’s my wish for you! May Your Christmas Be Merry, And filled with Good Cheer; May You Be Well and Happy Through Out the New Year.