Today's quotes come from the Daughters of Mars by Tom Keneally. It is hard to imagine how difficult it must be for people who are serving their countries far from home during the holiday season and so today I am taking a moment to think of them and posting these quotes in their honour.
The first quote comes from page 281:
Outside the mess tent the orderlies were unloading Christmas billy cans - stamped with a kangaroo and a boomerang and full of chocolate and minute puddings in cloth. A letter inside was addressed to 'Dear Soldier of Australia'. Ten days to Christmas, and intact men were landing on Lemnos each day in numbers suddenly too big for the rest camp. Sally and Slattery - shopping from peddlers - watched them march by. Their faces were gaunt and stained with weariness. The eyes seemed not yet aware that they had been brought back into the living world. There was too much continuances of geography between Gallipoli and here.
And from later in the war (page 483).
Lady Tarlton's chateau was decked for Christmas and kept warm at least in patches by army stoves. Naomi and the nurses made up Christmas boxes for each patient - simple things such as chocolate and tobacco, shortbread, a writing pad. Symbols of homely renewal. She had bought Matron Mitchie some lace in Boulogne. This was one of those Christmases Naomi had read of - when joy is a simple achievement. Her sister now wrote to her weekly and Ian at least each second day. Yet even with the Americans now in France, no one dared speak anymore of the coming year as the conclusive one.