A Sailor's Christmas Gift

by William J. Lederer


The First Noel


The Germans ordered wine for everyone. They delivered it themselves, hugging the other customers. One of the French families called for champagne, made the rounds, kissing each one of us on both cheeks. The owner of the restaurant started "The First Noel," and we all joined in, half of us crying. People crowded in from the street until many customers were standing. The walls shook as hands and feet kept time to the Christmas carols. The miserable evening in a shoddy restaurant ended up being the very best Christmas Eve we had ever experienced. Just because of a young sailor who had Christmas spirit in his soul, he released the love and joy that had been smothered within us by anger and disappointment. He gave us Christmas.
德国人请在场的每个人喝酒。人们自斟自饮,相互拥抱。那家法国人当中的一位要来了香槟---到每张桌上给人敬酒,并吻了每个人的双颊。饭馆老板带头唱起圣诞歌,我们大家都跟着唱,其中有半数人是含着眼泪唱的。    人们络绎不绝地从街上向餐馆涌来,其中一些顾客由于没有空位而只好站在那里。人们和着圣诞歌的节奏手舞足蹈,声音震得餐厅的四壁阵阵发颤。    没想到在这家简陋的小餐馆里所度过的那个凄凉的夜晚,结果竟变成我们终生难忘的最最美好的圣诞之夜。这全亏那位灵魂中闪烁着圣诞精神的年轻海员。是他把我们由于愤懑和失望而被压抑在内心深处的爱心和欢乐给引发出来的。他赐给了我们圣诞的欢乐。