My lovely girlfriend Janis and I will be spending Christmas Day with family in Pennsylvania.
My current project is a full figure of a Marine machine gunner. Several critical parts of the work, such as head and hands, are being done in wax. The 240 G machine gun is roughed out in balsa wood and hard wood dowels and will get a coat of wax. The remainder of the sculpture is in plasticine. The final product will be cast in bronze.
I leave you with a Christmas poem penned by a Marine. The poem was originally written by Lance Corporal James A. Schmidt in 1986. I also invite you to visit Major Mike Corrado's On My Watch Tonight YouTube site.
'Twas the night before Christmas; he lived all alone
In a one bedroom house made of plaster & stone
I had come down the chimney, with presents to give
And to see just who in this home did live.
As I looked all about, a strange sight I did see
No tinsel, no presents, not even a tree
No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand
On the wall hung pictures of a far distant land.
With medals and badges, awards of all kind
A sobering thought soon came to my mind
For this house was different, unlike any I'd seen
This was the home of a U.S. Marine.
I'd heard stories about them, I had to see more
So I walked down the hall and pushed open the door
And there he lay sleeping, silent, alone
Curled up on the floor in his one-bedroom home.
He seemed so gentle, his face so serene
Not how I pictured a U.S. Marine
Was this the hero, of whom I'd just read?
Curled up in his poncho, a floor for his bed?
His head was clean-shaven, his weathered face tan
I soon understood, this was more than a man
For I realized the families that I saw that night
Owed their lives to these men, who were willing to fight.
Soon around the Nation, the children would play
And grown-ups would celebrate on a bright Christmas day
They all enjoyed freedom, each month and all year
Because of Marines like this one lying here.
I couldn t help wonder how many lay alone
On a cold Christmas Eve, in a land far from home
Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye
I dropped to my knees and I started to cry.
He must have awoken, for I heard a rough voice
"Santa, don't cry, this life is my choice
I fight for our freedom, I don't ask for more
My life is my God, my Country, my Corps."
With that he rolled over, drifted off into sleep
I couldn't control it, I continued to weep
I watched him for hours, so silent and still
I noticed he shivered from the cold night's chill.
So I took off my jacket, the one made of red
And covered this Marine from his toes to his head
Then I put on his T-shirt of scarlet and gold
With an eagle, globe and anchor emblazoned so bold.
Tho' it barely fit me, I swelled with pride
And for one shining moment, I was Marine Corps deep inside
I didn't want to leave him so quiet in the night
This guardian of honor so willing to fight.
Half asleep he rolled over, in a voice clean and pure
Said "Carry on, Santa, it's Christmas Day, all secure."
One look at my watch and I knew he was right
Merry Christmas my friend, Semper Fi and goodnight.