The following should be read to the cadence of Clement Moore’s classic poem, “The Night Before Christmas”
Last Watch Before Christmas
Twas’ the last watch before Christmas and all through the boat
Not a sailor was stirring, the tired OD wrote.
Torpedomen slept by their fishes so dear,
And mess cooks had visions of pizza and beer.
Electricians were bunked down snugger than weasels;
Enginemen snored just as loud as their diesels.
ETs dreamt of circuits and gauges;
Everyone else looked forward to wages.
The old sub rocked gently beside the dark quay,
And no one off watch would awake until day.
Without noise or commotion or distracting clatter
A jolly rotund guy slid down the steel ladder.
He silently shifted forward to aft,
Dropping a trail of gifts in his path.
There was something for everyone; good stuff not junk.
He even left booze on one lucky guy’s bunk.
When his good deeds were finished he climbed back on deck.
Soon I heard a loud “bang!” that I thought was a wreck.
But the purr of strong engines filled the night air,
And the guy yelled out sharply these odd words I’ll share:
“Remember Snook, Tang, Squalus and Gudgeon!
Thresher, Cochino, Sculpin and Grunion!”
As that Skipper weighed anchor I last heard him say:
“Merry Christmas to all! …and for lost shipmates pray.”
© Charles R. Ryan, USSVI (Associate), Seattle Base; written to honor the Lockwood Chapter of the Submarine Veterans of World War II at their annual Christmas lunch, December 2002, Tacoma, WA.
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