Once upon a time, a few years ago, my wife and daughters decided that we should all sit around drinking hot chocolate while I read the Clement Moore poem, “A Visit From St. Nicholas”, like some genial Dad in a TV Christmas special. I agreed, but I couldn’t resist adding little details featuring my oldest daughter, Audrey, and my youngest, Celeste. I also spontaneously updated some of the details from the poem.
I did this off the top of my head. None of my additions rhymed or scanned or anything like that. But my family thought it was funny, and so naturally I’ve had to read “our” version of the poem each year, (which always changed, cause, you know, I was just making crap up.)
Finally, this year I decided to write the thing down so that the new details would fit more seamlessly into the poem.
I debuted this on Christmas Eve. My family liked it. I added few more details on Christmas day. And now, on the day after Christmas, I’ll share it with you.
The meter is a bit shaky. Some of the rhymes are very weak. I even resorted to “Seussifying” a word to make it fit. And, basically, this whole thing is nothing but a Caruthers Family in joke. But, it’s kinda cute and I’ve been missing from this blog for so long that this seemed a good way for me to poke my head out and say “Hi!” So, here it is. Happy Holidays!
A Visit From St. Nicholas
by Clement Clarke Moore
(with sections personalized for the Caruthers Family by Brooks Caruthers)
’Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house
Nothing stirred except Audrey, who was quiet as a mouse.
(If that mouse weighed one ton* and was running to music
In little mouse headphones with beats oh-so-sick
that the mouse felt compelled to run like a rhino
while texting and giggling like a techno-crazed wino.)
However Celeste was all snug in her bed,
and visions of cyber toys danced in her head;
and Mom in her PJs and I in my shorts,
Had just settled in for some snores and some snorts,
When from our two dogs such a barking erupted,
I felt like my heartbeat had been interrupted.
I ran to the window with vision still blurry
To see what could make our beasts bark with such fury.
In the Arkansas winterscape: cold, wet and brown
by moonlight and streetlight not much could be found.
When what to my wandering eyes should appear
but a miniature sleigh and nine tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
“Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! On Donder and Blitzen!
Forward Rudolph! For we almost just nearly missed
that the house of Celeste is the next on my list!”
As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So up to the housetop the coursers they flew
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
I ran down the stairs. I was worried and scared.
There was no need to fret for St. Nick was prepared.
He emerged from our chimney with treats in his hands,
And promptly he garnered two brand new best friends.
As each dog settled down with a Flavor-Chew Bone,
St. Nick took a moment to survey our home.
He caught sight of Audrey who sat in the den,
wrapped up in her phone as she texted a friend,
Then he shrugged and brought all of his attention back
to the wonderful toys that he’d brought in a sack.
His eyes —- how they twinkled! his dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow.
Then he took out an e-pipe and blew out some gas.
(He’d taken up vaping and looked like an ass!)
The sight of St. Nick as a strange hipster elf
Made me laugh when I saw him in spite of myself.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I 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 arranged all the gifts which were too large for sockses
In a glorious display of festive bright boxes
And when he was pleased with his Christmas display
He devoured the treats that we’d left on a tray
He washed down the sweets with a milk-dripping smile,
Then he stopped…
…and stared at the wall for awhile.
Finally he roused himself with a deep sigh,
And catching my eyes waved a final goodbye.
Then laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.
Then Audrey crashed into me, smiling in headphones.
We fell as the dogs tried to guard their new bones.
“Sorry Dad,” she said, “Hey, was there someone just here?”
I said, “Audrey, please take those phones off of your ears.”
We went to the window and saw St. Nick’s sleigh,
Fly off of our roof and up up and away.
But we heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”
*I should note that Audrey does not weigh one ton. She’s by far the most physically fit member of our family. But she is not light-footed. When she runs in the house, it really does sound like a stampede