There was a certain collective gloom hung over Christmas in Gaol, as I recall.
On every face you could sense that mood. Especially amongst the first timers.
Come the hour (midnight xmas eve) you could hear a pin drop, sometimes a tear drop amongst the uncanny silence in the dark.
Individual men were having their ”Dickens of a Christmas” confronting Ghosts of Christmas’s past, Christmas present and Christmas’s yet to come. As with ”Scrooge” in” A Christmas Carol”
Psychologically, Christmas caused them to recall happier moments/or not, in different environments and so ”the seasonal spirit” had their minds elsewhere.
I’m not the greatest of singers, but Prison bars and yards and concrete blocks produces a hauntingly toned vibration that suits my voice and can be heard through every cell and beyond the block.
In eerie silence I began to say the words in rolling rhyme (slow song) ”Silent night, Holy Night, all is calm, all is bright, Round yon Virgin, Mother and child”
After ”Holy Infant” and so on, I caught the sound of the first tears with the words ”Sleep in Heavenly Peace”
For days previously the screws had placed a wee Christmas Tree near to the prisoners phone booth. A wee mind game they enjoy.
As I went to the phone I was singing to the tune of ”Walking in a Winter Wonderland” but changed the words to ”Later on, If you wanta, You can dress like Madonna, ”Walking round in Women’s Underwear!” (Reverse Psychology)
Being a mixed Religion remand wing I’m surprised I got beyond ”Round yon Virgin” without an uproar from opposing religious based groupings.
Not a word.
Silent remained the night and the Peace was Heavenly.