I have a thick white beard that I’ve let grow out longer for the season. I have a Santa hat. I have a red PFD. I have a big red kayak. Of course I’d combine all of these for some Santa paddling. What I hadn’t counted on was eight tiny dolphins to pull my sleigh.
A Visit from St. Nick
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the boat house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The dry bags were draped over the kayaks with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;
The children were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of white-water kayaks and rolling danced in their heads;
And mamma in her paddle shirt, and I in my neoprene cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap’
When out on the launch ramp there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew in the wink of a seahorse,
Tore open the shutters and threw up sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a luster of midday to objects below,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature kayak and eight tiny dolphin’s,
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment he must be St. Nicholas
More rapid than eagles his courses they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name:
“Now, Splasher! On, Paddler! Now Flipper and Wave Runner!
On, Seahorse on, wave dancer on, wind surfer and Splash Dancer!
To the top of the launch ramp! To the top of the wall!
Now swim away! Swim away! Swim away all!
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 Kayak full of toys, and St. Nicholas too-
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The slapping and sliding of each little flipper.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the Chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed in a red dry soot, from his head to his foot.
And his clothes were all tarnished with salt spray and soot;
A bundle of paddle gear he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a paddler just opening his pack.
His eyes-how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!
His cheeks so sunburned, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a paddle,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the sea foam;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke, it encircled his head in the shape of a heard of swimming dolphins;
He had a broad face and a little round belly
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old sea elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know That nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the dry bags with kayak gear; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his neck gasket,
And giving a nod, Up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his Kayak, To his team gave a whistle“A Kayaker’s Night Before Christmas” from CONNYAK
And away they all flew like a kayak in the surf.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight-
“Happy Kayaking to all, and to all a good roll”