A Note From the Admiral

I thought about my brother today as I might think of my people from time to time. This memory came for no special reason; my thoughts were of a time during the holidays quite a while back. We were together and talking about what cards of cheer we might have gotten in the mail during this crappy time of the noel season.

After several noggins of reality he went to his closet, where he kept all things military. Nothing on his bedroom walls spoke of his service time, although many paintings of early ships and naval battles were hung there.
He handed me a yellowing paper, cut-out lines of typed script pasted to an official form. He said it was his favorite Christmas card.

As radioman my brother had passed along a copy of the message but kept the original, as he had decoded it. It was a note from Admiral ‘Bull’ Halsey to all ships and stations in his beloved Third Fleet. It read: MERRY CHRISTMAS AND KEEP THE BASTARDS DYING. I thought, what a heartfelt treat, you sentimental old sea-dog. But then, my brother reminded me, to a bunch of burned-out boys being bounced around in a tin can, far from home, paranoid by the constant threat of subs, kamikazes and typhoons, the note was received with good humor and gratitude by all hands.

I fixed the next round of toddy’s and followed as my brother raised his cup to toast the Bull, and the boys who live with Davy Jones and will forever serve in Neptune’s Court.