A night before Christmas, I sank in my bed,Too tired to sleep, and plum full of dread.
Our stockings were borrowed, our tree from the yard,
Presents we had none, times were too hard.
The kids knew the story, but still they believedA miracle or two, an angel they conceived,
Would brighten their morning with gifts galore
But we had each other, though I wished it was more.
When a ruckus arose, a dozen dogs barking,Had someone mistaken my lawn for free parking?
I tromped to the window full ready to blow
Gun by the bed, and bat by the do’.
The moon on high water, it sparkled and glistened,Casting the marsh into high definition.
My eyes were a-blinking, the sight was so odd
Was that a Ryals, a Thomas, a Todd?
With eight nimble helpers, all with deep tans.
A strange-looking trawler, a jolly round man,
I opened the door, my stomach full churning,
“Bubba, go home, you’ve made a wrong turning.”
My plea was ignored, an anchor plunked down,Troubled, I grabbed my bat, and I frowned.
“No need for that stick,” said the old tar.
“We heard of your plight, we’ve come from afar.”
The voice was familiar, but who could he be,An uncle, a cousin, a grand pappy?
Dressed in white boots, red cap and blue jeans,
He looked like a worker, not sparkly and clean.
His helpers they scurried and ran in my house.“My kids!” I yelped, then felt like a louse,
For under the tree were presents a-plenty,
The stockings were plumped and smelling all minty.
I turned and saw clearly the man I’d called “Bubba”Who glowed with good cheer. I lost it and blubbered,
“Thank you so much, my kids and I bless you.”
“We’re ever so grateful for all that you do.”
A smile creased his face, he nodded his head.His helpers they beamed and turned quite red.
A laugh filled the air, one deep from the belly
Good cheer rolled along, a fish full of jelly.
“Your kids believed and that was enough,To fill our ship with all this good stuff.”
I nodded and babbled, despite my intention
To hold it together, I just have to mention.
I’d heard of this gifter, he was no imposter,This angler of note, this Santa of the Waters.
Master of shrimp and crab and fishes,
Best friend to children and their dear wishes.
He called to his helpers in a rich baritone,Their names so familiar, a rosetta stone:
Come Mack and Howell, come Saul and Peter
On Henry and Darwin, on Billy and Hunter.
Snapping their fingers in Vic Waters style,The tar and his buds, they danced a sea mile.
Diesels they rumbled, the nets how they swayed,
As they departed, they gave serenade.
“McIntosh County, a jewel so splendid,
A people so nice, highlander descended.
Your rivers are pure, your hearts are true,
Merry Christmas to y’all, a hearty wahoo.”
Maggie "Margaret" Toussaint
(as seen in the Dec. 22, 2011 issue of The Darien News)