JET PILOT

Merry Christmas, Merry Christmas you hear on every hand.
How can Christmas be merry when your boy's in a foreign land?
I sit before the fire and in the embers I see
A little fair haired fellow eyes filled with wonder and glee.

Now I see another Christmas in the firelight's cheerful glow
"What do you want for Christmas? I'd really like to know
But I had guessed already the answer I would gain
"A basketball and candy and a great big aeroplane."

I see him in the firelight his report card held from sight
And I thought the teacher surely hadn't graded him just right
But she showed me airplane pictures drawn on everything at school
And I smile as I remember airplanes on his milking stool.

I see him grown taller and hear them shout his name
Setting the rafters ringing at the basketball game.
I glance up at his father and see him fairly beam.
We know our boy's the hero of that basketball team.

High school now is over and to college he is bound
Books and tennis racquets and golf clubs all around
I see a different expression as he carefully ties his tie.
And I hear him softly singing, "Sweetheart of Sigma Chi".

War clouds now are gathering--the embers an angry glow
I thought my heart would break when he said that he must go,
Although his eyes were troubled, it wasn't in his plan
That he should join the air force to fight his fellow man.

They pinned some medals on him for his courage and his skill
To his country he'd brought great credit and I know he always will.

Now the war is over and I wonder where you are.
Are you flying through the moonbeams?
Are you wishing on a star?
Do the gentle clouds caress you in that great azure dome
I can only softly whisper, "Father, bring my pilot safely home."

-Mildred Reid Ivins (abridged)