An Ode to Midrats

An Ode to Midrats

By: John Petersen


Six in the eve, I’m just getting off watch.

In another six I’ll be back, bleary-eyed but still in touch.

Yeah, I’ll look like shit, hair and coveralls all rumpled and askew,

and yet thanks to the God saving Mid Rats, I’m fresh as mountain dew!

The pit is theirs for the next six hours, they can have it,

for me it’s time for a shower, a shave, and a gratifying….

A quick scrounge through my collection of yellow earplugs, finding the best two,

I can only hope for a few hours down time, don’t deny it. Wouldn’t you?

‘Roused from a deep slumber, the messenger calling your name,

he dares not reach into your rack, that act a formidable shame.

It’s only eleven and you still have an hour,

It’s the middle of the night and your stomach holds power.

It growls, it grunts, it tells you who’s in charge, therefore I pray…

Before I once again give another six hours to the job to which I gave my life away.

“May you, Lord, be blessed, and the Gods be thanked,

for that of which I am about to receive, my shipmates of which I am flanked.

You have seen the need, as well as the heartfelt hunger and need,

that this thing called Mid Rats is the one item wanted with unforgiving greed.

A lukewarm slider, ketchup-soaked gummy fries,

A watered down Coke or bug juice, still brings tears to the eyes,

Might be a lucky night, depending on what was for dinner,

Surf and turf, maybe Elephant scabs, overall that’d be a winner!

The all renowned Chili Mac, maybe some scrambled egg soup,

Meatballs! YUM! Drowning in some strange cheesy gloop.

I’ll scarf it down no matter what there is to choose from, for you see,

It’s gonna be a long six hours and I’ve no time for you to cook for me.

Gotta keep the Ol’ girl going, straight and forward as the orders go,

I’ll eat what you have on hand to nourish my tired yet determined soul.

This old girl can’t survive without either you or me,

and if it weren’t for the Mid Rats, today she would not be.



A native of Nebraska, John has lived in Southern California since 1970. He graduated high school in ’81 and went straight into the Navy as a Machinist Mate. He served in the Pacific Fleet and operated in the Pacific theater of operations. After 12 years active and 22 years’ inactive reserve, John now manages a dry ice plant for Airgas.


2 thoughts on “An Ode to Midrats

  1. Ed Caviness says:

    Thanks John, and thanks to the many engineers that kept the plant going where we within deck dept. could conduct our unreps. It was a great time for which I will never forget.


  2. Joe says:

    I remember many of Mid Rats. I was a Cryptologic Technician in the Navy. I always worked 12 on and 12 off but I was assigned other duties on my 12 off.


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