TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS and all through the boat,
The bilge pumps were hustling to keep us afloat,
The children were nestled all snug in their berths,
(We sleep here most nights to get our money’s worth)
As Ma read Jackie Collins and I guzzled beer,
She said “You’ve had enough, now come to bed dear.”
Then out on the dock there arose an uproar
As I reached in the Igloo to get just one more.
So up went my head, out of the hatch.
(Though I should have thought first to undo the latch.)
I saw stars for a moment, and as quick as a blink
My hunny yelled, “See, you’ve had too much to drink!”
The moon on the water lit the marina up bright
(Which was good, since the kids had lost my flashlight.)
Then what with my wondering eyes should I see,
But a fat, fuzzy old guy in a Bayliner Capri.
Instead of an outboard hung on the rear,
Tied to the bow were eight tiny reindeer.
More rapid than Reggie, these coursers they flew,
And on each of their hoofs was a Topsider shoe.
With crashing and bashing and banging and knocking,
I knew in an instant they must be docking,
“No Dasher and Dancer! Damn you Prancer and Vixen.
Stop, Comet and Cupid! The bumpers, Donner and Blitzen!
Look out for that boat! Watch that seawall!
Now tie up with ropes and fend off all!”
He was dressed in a red cap ringed with fur trim
Along with a Speedo that covered just a fraction of him.
I was shocked and astonished. What could I say?
I also go boating dressed exactly that way.
He then grabbed a bag, a bulging huge sack,
And hoisted it up onto his back,
He also had sponges and a mop in his grip,
As he waddled his way o’er to my slip.
He said “My name’s Nick, and my friend, I can tell
That your gel coat needs buffing and your teak looks like hell.
Your vinyl needs cleaning, your lockers arranging,
Your holding tank pumping, and your oil a-changing,
You’ve put these jobs off for too long and you know it.
So here’s all that you need. This time don’t blow it.”
Then as quick as he came, he was back on his boat,
His reindeer revving and eager to tote.
“Merry Christmas!” he called as they cruised through the night.
“And regarding the beer Joe, your wife- she is right.”
Originally published in Bluewater Sailing