I loved Mary Perry’s poem about the meaning of Christmas, and I cut it out of the Star and copied it to send to people.
I found out about the true meaning of Christmas when I was 9 years old. My family was sailing from Seattle to Anchorage, Alaska, the Christmas of 1949. My stepfather was in the U.S. Army and he’d met us in Seattle to take us to his place of duty.
We sailed on the S.S. Funston; it was her last voyage, and the worst crossing the crew could remember. Even they were seasick!
On Christmas morning, my sister and I went to watch the black-and-white cartoons of cats chasing mice that a crew member showed on a projector. He gave all the children hard candy, but no one could eat it. No one could eat dinner that night.
It was the best Christmas I ever had, because in the absence of the Christmas stuff I was used to, I could feel what Christmas really was. My sister, Scotty, agreed about this when we talked about it years later.
It was like the song, “God rest ye, Merry Gentlemen, let nothing you dismay; remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day; to save us all from Satan’s power when we were gone astray; Oh tidings of comfort and joy.”
When the people on the ship greeted us with “Merry Christmas,” that was what we were happy about — not food, gifts, tree or music, because there were none. Though we were all sick, the spirit was there, and we were happy.