This version of Twas The Night Before Christmas appeared in the Cedar Rapids Gazette courtesy of Mike Dupree before he retired. It makes me laugh every year:
'Twas the night before Christmas for modern St. Nick
This column first published Christmas Eve, 1995.
'Twas the night before Christmas and all through our place
Everyone was worn out from the season's rat race.
The cats were sprawled over the couch and the chair,
In the hope that nobody would notice them there.
My wife with her novel, and me with the clicker,
Had just settled down to surf channels and bicker.
When all of a sudden there arose such a racket
I tried to spring up, but I couldn't quite hack it.
What with candy and nuts and the seasonal beverage
The task of arising required too much leverage.
One cat raised an eyelid. A second one stretched.
The third brought up dinner - that is to say, retched.
Away to the window I finally shuffled,
Grunting and groaning, my muttered oaths muffled.
I drew back the curtains, cranked open the sash,
Expecting to see some loud reveler's bash.
Where what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a green snowmobile (I think a John Deere),
More swiftly than eagles, it came from afar.
It didn't have coursers, whatever they are.
Just a sign on the bumper of quite a rough kind:
"If you don't like my driving, call ..." well, never mind.
The man on the saddle was slim and was svelte
With 12 extra holes newly punched in his belt.
He could have been any Tom, Harry or Dick
Except that his vanity plate said "St. Nick."
As dry leaves before the wild hurricane swoop,
To clog up my gutters and flood the front stoop,
So up to the rooftop he guided his sled
And soon cursing and pounding rang o'er my head.
I yelled out to tell him he'd made a mistake:
"The fireplace burns gas. The chimney's a fake."
A moment of silence. An embarrassed pause.
Then there at the back door he stood: Santa Claus.
He was dressed head to toe in some kind of synthetic
And I scarce recognized the famed peripatetic.
His beard showed no white, except at the roots,
"L.L. Bean" said his coat, "Eddie Bauer" his boots.
No pipe in his teeth, no fur at his wrist,
A non-smoker now, an animal rightist.
No spectacles either, which quite puzzled me.
"Contact lenses?" I asked; "No," he said, "surgery."
"Come in, have a snack," I said, offering a plate.
"For an elf of your years, you look jolly great."
He shot a quick glance to see if I teased.
Reassured that I meant it, he looked very pleased.
"I work out a lot, and I watch what I eat,"
He said, shunning my cookies and gnawing a beet.
Without further ado, without stopping to ask,
He stepped over the cats and went straight to his task.
No toys did he have in his big, bulky stash;
Gift vouchers instead, as well as some cash.
When I mentioned to him that this seemed passing strange,
He said it was due to societal change.
People know more these days, sensitivity's heightened,
Compared to the days when we weren't so enlightened.
"It's not right," he explained, "when fathers and mothers
"Make personal choices for all of the others."
Then putting a finger aside of his nose,
He glanced at the gas fire and looked really hosed.
With a "hasta la vista," he dashed out the door,
Leaped astride his machine, started up with a roar.
I ran out behind him, and ere he could vanish
I asked him a question .
"There's just one more thing, and I really must hear it.
"With all of this change, what's the new Christmas spirit?"
He eased off the throttle to make himself heard
And - I swear his eyes twinkled - he gave me the word.
"It's the same as it was when you got your first toy.
"It's family and giving; it's love and it's joy."
With that he was gone in a deafening din.
It would be 12 long months ere we saw him again.
But I heard him exclaim, as he zoomed on his way,
"Happy solstice to all, and you have a nice day!"
I wish all of you a very Merry Christmas. Can't thank you enough for following the blog, your wonderful comments and some super samples to taste and write. Many of you introduced me to wineries, winemakers and blogs of your own. You accepted me into your "wine community" and I am grateful for your help and friendship.