Clement Clarke Moore wrote the poem “Twas the night before Christmas” in 1822. I “borrowed” some delightful lines from that poem and added a few Pepysian style lines in thanks to all of our friends for writing about 1663! May our New Year bring blessings to all of you and may 1664 be a wonderful year for Sam and Elizabeth!
Twas the night before New Years, when all through the Navy
Men were counting their pay and the graft they call gravy.
Pay offs were pocketed by the public servants with care,
Men at all levels were getting their share.
Our Sam headed home to get snug in his bed,
With his business and worries all stuck in his head.
Elizabeth donned nightclothes, and Sam wore his cap,
They settled in together for a long winter’s nap.
When out on the leads there arose such a clatter,
They sprang from their bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window Sam flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to their wondering eyes should appear,
But a sleigh full of annotators from far and from near.
With a web master so quick and full of great skill,
Sam knew in a moment it was the legendary Phil!
More rapid than eagles those annotators all came,
Phil whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
“Now Vincent! NIX, Robert! Dirk, Pedro and Terry!
Todd, Bradford! Paul, Susan! Hat, Michael be merry!
To today’s diary entry! to the top of the page!
Now type away! Type away! Type with outlandish rage!”
Typing on the sleigh while trying not to crack up,
They hit challenging entries so they called for back up.
From the back of the sleigh coming out of a grog,
Were the rest of the annotators who’d been tipping egg nog.
And then, in a twinkling, questions flew on Sam’s roof
Did Sam’s letter of reprimand make Sandwich aloof?
Which diary entries brought forth the most delightful fun?
Amidst laughter were votes for the dancing Pembleton!
When our Sam appeared dressed in periwig and purple shag
Was that really the style or was he dressing in drag?
And what of the day he installed the infamous bell,
Did the maids mutter their annoyance and curse him to hell?
Who was it who left the wine cellar ajar?
Look for the stumbling servant who can’t walk too far!
What’s the best way to get rid of your partner’s love letters,
Should you burn them like Sam did or use a paper shredder?
Does anyone really understand Uncle Robert’s will?
Only the lawyers amongst us in those entries do thrill!
And what of the Ashwell and Elizabeth fight,
Did they handle it like ladies or box ears in plain sight?
What really cured Sam of his constipation and colic?
Did his really catch a cold during his Mrs. Lane frolic?
Will we ever hear more of Wayneman or of Will?
Will Sam and Batten ever reach a détente or standstill?
Then they spoke not a word, but went straight to their work,
Typing witty thoughts and opinions of the Navy’s best clerk.
And laying their fingers on top of their keyboards,
They entered their thoughts about the Navy’s finest seaboard!
Then they all pondered quietly of the end of 1663,
How Sam was climbing the ladder to Naval VIP.
With anticipation they wondered and wondered some more,
What’s in the future for Sam and Elizabeth in 1664?
Then Phil sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
Sam and Elizabeth exclaimed as they drove out of sight,
“Happy New Year to all, and to all a good-night!”