Christmas Eve, Dam Neck, Virginia Beach, VA, 1965

By Thomas M. McDade

We’d had our fill of homesick
sailors and Bobby Vinton’s
jukebox sobbing “Mr. Lonely”
torture at the E.M. Club.
Our souls had gone down
twice in Falstaff beer
so we tried to lie
our way into the Acey-
Deucey Club to finish
drowning in mixed drinks
to the beat of a live
shit-kicking band.
But the Master-At-Arms
was wise to our ranks
had written us up before.
Marching directly to the shore
we paid our respects to the lucky
drunk tank of an ocean,
picked up smooth stones
to deal with any wagging
streetlamp beams or windows
rudely rolling panes.
Breaking the serene
barracks atmosphere
with our blustering
we startled the sleepy
sentry out of his half-
baked carol humming.
An old cook from Georgia
with a Santa Claus belly
was still in action,
informing a Wild
Turkey Texas fifth
about Christmases
lonelier than this one.
Crunchy crisp as drumsticks
when St. Nick passed
out, we snatched his galley
keys, feasted on big steaks
sprigged with extra parsley
in keeping
with the season.


Thomas M. McDade is a 71-year-old former computer programmer/analyst residing in Fredericksburg, VA, previously CT & RI. He is a graduate of Fairfield University, Fairfield, CT. McDade is twice a U.S. Navy Veteran serving ashore at the Fleet Anti-Air Warfare Training Center, Dam Neck, Virginia Beach, VA and at sea on the USS Mullinnix DD-944 and USS Miller DE/FF 1091. His poetry and fiction have been published in many magazines, journals, and reviews, both in print and online.