‘T,was the night before Christmas, when all through Lake Worth, A pleasant calm had fallen as dusk hugged our berth.
We put up the dinghy and reflected on our day; As inconsiderate power-boaters showed us their wakes.
Our equipment was hung and our lights dimmed from view; To settle into the salon to enjoy a quick chick flick called “P.S. I Love You”.
Gus the Boat Dog was already in the sack; Dreaming of fire hydrants that explode on impact.
The crew talked of sleeping in since Christmas is a day off; While the Captain was wondering who might volunteer to stand watch.
And the Admiral in her ‘kerchief, and I (the Captain) in my cap,
Were hoping to settle down “together” for at least one night’s uninterrupted nap.
When out in he Anchorage there rose such a clatter – I sprang from the couch to see what was the matter.
Away to the cockpit I flew like a flash,
; Tore open the companion way and looked over the dash.
The crescent moon on the anchorage pitched such a glow ; With the lustre of mid-day on on the water below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should I see; But a miniature RIB pulled by eight tiny manatee.
With a little old driver, so lively and quick; I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than dolphins his over weight coursers they came,; And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name.
“Now, Fat Boy, now, Pudgy, now, Moby and Blubber! On, Hump Back, on Scar-face, on, Half-Tail and Flubber!
To the top of the gunnel! to the top of that y’all
; Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As flying fish before that wild hurricane fly; When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to the mizzen mast the fat little coursers they flew,; With the skiff full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the spinnaker , The flapping and thwapping of each little flipper.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,; Down the diesel heater stove-pipe St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in neoprene, clearly looking for a banquet; And in his wet suit he looked like two pigs fighting under a blanket!
A bundle of sailing gadgets he had flung on his back; And he looked like an “associate” salesman from West Marine just opening his pack.
His eyes — how they twinkled! his dimples were dripping!; And I heard him mutter something about derelict boats and anchorage shitting!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow; To keep floating poo from smearing on his robe.
The stump of a snorkle he held tight in his teeth,; And the spray from it encircled his face like a wreath. He had a suntanned face with a disgusted look; That scared me to death as The Admiral hit him with the boat hook!
Laying there prostrate he looked chubby and plump; a right jolly old elf, And I gasped to see he was still conscious after rising and shaking himself.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,; Soon gave momma to know We had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, And filled all the stockings – then turned with a jerk,; And laying his finger aside of his nose…then giving a nod and up the companionway he rose.
He sprang to his skiff, to his team he gave a cheek click ; And away they all flew farting and dropping manatee poop on our deck.
I could think of nothing but the clean up tomorrow; As I watched this managery leave our boat in soiled sorrow …
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD-NIGHT!