Cruising around in the pre-Christmas sky
St. Nick and his reindeer always fly
Over the waters of Vineyard Sound,
Over the ocean where the waves pound,
Over the bluffs and the cliffs and the sand
Of Martha’s Vineyard, seeking to land
In a pleasant spot where the crowds come out,
To welcome the reindeer with a shout,
And to say hello to good St. Nick.
There’s always a choice of places to pick
Though this year’s northeaster and Hurricane Sandy
Wiped out some spots, which wasn’t so handy,
But up at Aquinnah, the Gay Head Light
Was shining so brilliantly ’twas quite a sight
On again, off again, as it has done
For more than two centuries when the sun
Slipped out of sight and the sky turned black.
The light has made sure ships stayed right on track
Away from the rocks and the shoals and the shore
Excepting, of course, back in one-eight-eight-four
When the City of Columbus one blustery night
Was wrecked on a ridge — ’twas a terrible sight
But Gay Headers brave rose to the event —
Fishermen, farmers down to the beach went
And put out to sea in all manner of craft
Though many a bystander thought they were daft,
But they rescued some passengers tossed in the sea
And many were honored for their bravery.
It wasn’t the light’s fault the vessel went down,
’Twas the wind blowing strong across the whole town.
For night after night in year after year
The light at Gay Head has shone bright and clear.
So no skipper has worried when rounding the Head
And surely St. Nicholas up on his sled
Had no cares at all as he urged his reindeer
To put down by the lighthouse and have no fear
There’s less land there now than there used to be
So the light must be moved or ’twill be in the sea.
But this year there was room on the lighthouse green,
And it was, of course, quite a sight to be seen
As the sleigh with the reindeer swooped from the sky
And made a smooth landing in the wink of an eye
And St. Nicholas climbed from the sleigh with a grin
And stroked the long beard that grows from his chin.
And he pulled from his sack all manner of thing.
There was for Beth Kramer some scaffolding
For the library that in time will be
In West Tisbury town for all to see.
And Holly Nadler got a Mustang red
While for Nova Smith there was a sled.
For Morgan, George there were Broadway tickets
And Edie Blake got croquet wickets.
Then Abby Dreyer got rare jazz CDs
And Cynthia Riggs a new swarm of bees
There were seeds for her farm for Walter, Lily,
While Sal Laterra for when he’s chilly
Got a lap robe warm to cover his knees
And for Tom Thatcher was Gruyere cheese
While for Bennett, Bill there were days that were sunny
And Andy Boass got jars full of honey.
There were new oil paints for Zender, Mark
And warm Florida days for Cheryl Stark.
Then Penny Weinstein got a telescope
And Caitlin Parry a new stethoscope
For hospital rounds since she’s an intern,
While for Eric Glasgow was a butter churn.
There was Eyes of the World for Jenbar Norton
And a first edition of Wilder, Thornton
For Donald Lyons, while Dhieu Phan
Got cabbage and tofu so she can
Make egg rolls delicious for all to enjoy.
For Pickle Eville there was a live unicorn, not a toy.
Then Hardy Eville got a snare drum
So he can play it “rum-a-dum-dum.”
For Helen Brown there were chocolate cakes.
For the Donald Shanors, who like the Great Lakes
Was a springtime visit out thataway
And then there was for Leslie Gray
A blue ribbon again for her vegetables tasty
While for that Runner who is named Hasty
And her mother, Faith, there was butterscotch candy
In a grand supply so it’s always handy.
For Simone Solon there were dancing shoes
While Bridget Tobin got a first-class cruise
That took her to Chile not to Woods Hole
While Diane Nolan got a casserole.
There were classic films on DVD
For Peggy Freydberg who likes history.
Then Felicity Russell got a spade to break ground
For the house in prospect that’s not on the Sound
But on Tisbury Great Pond, naturally,
Where the Russell family will always be.
Then there was a kilt for Howard Wall
When he plays bagpipes for one and all.
There were Holland tulips for Bill Elbow
While for the Ben Moores for their Eneko
There was Milkbone aplenty to keep him happy.
Then for Lisa Gruner with a house on Chappy
There were ferry tickets that will last for a year
And then there was for Jackie Renear
And Dr. Bob Franklin a Christmas bouquet
While Clarissa Allen got a burro shay.
There was holly and ivy for Fullin, Tim
For that should surely appeal to him.
Then for Steve Atwood there were new clogs
And for Ann Burt there were still more logs
To burn in her woodstove and keep her warm,
But not enough wood to set off an alarm.
Thaw Malin got for his plein air art
Lots of good weather for a start
And then there was for Maxner, Steve
Who, really, next year wants to achieve
An end to the shark fest that in O.B.
Threatens that town’s tranquility
In the heart of summer when visitors come
To Martha’s Vineyard to enjoy the sun
And the beach and the Camp Ground, quaint and pretty
And don’t want to see sights bloody and gritty,
Steve got enough names to have a town vote
To see if Oak Bluffs really wants to promote
The annual tourney that kills the sharks.
Then M.J. Pease got meadow larks
That sing so sweetly in the spring
And for Jake Ponte there was a swing
For Kristie Kingsbury were peppers hot
Because she really likes them a lot.
And Tammy Hirsh, for her Israel trip,
Got a rain check for travel by air or ship,
At a quieter time in the Middle East.
While for Charlotte Hall there was some yeast
For the bread she makes that is very fine,
And with it was a bottle of wine.
Then Isla Jane Solon got a big teddy bear —
As big as the ones you win at the fair.
And Tim Dobell got a Cuban cigar —
The kind you nurture as you sit at a bar.
By then the sun had begun to sink
And St. Nicholas’s reindeer wanted a drink
So he took time out from his gift-giving spree
And he sent them off to Orange Peel Bakery
To get some water; see Aquinnah sights,
Look at the town hall with its Christmas lights.
There are window candles that flicker and gleam
As real candles do — quite real they do seem.
But then St. Nick was back at his job.
He gave John Alley a gold watch fob
And a watch to go with it for wedding days.
(He weds folks in winter, in summer, in haze.)
Both go with the top hat he always wears
And that surely attracts a great many stares.
For Healy, Everett and Healy, Kent,
Who are budding young farmers excellent
There was feed for the chicks they now are raising
They’re growing so fast it’s just amazing.
John Costa got a splitter to split his wood —
Since the old one no longer does as it should.
There were blueberry bushes for Betty Eddy
So she can have pies when the berries are ready.
For John Armstrong there was flounder food —
He really is an exceptional dude.
There was a dog walker for Hoagland, Ted
And for Dick Burt an arrowhead.
Herb Slater got a stellar crew
For his boat, Drifter, and fish, too.
When he goes out in the summertime,
When being at sea is so sublime.
For Walter Wlodyka there were odor-free skunks
And then the Bob Ganzes got steamer trunks
To help in their move from down in D.C.
To their Chilmark home where they should be.
Then Kevin Cain’s Bailey got Irish Cream
That Kevin likes, too, for it’s a real dream.
There was a new saddle for Rebecca Sanders
And toys aplenty for Frankie Flanders’s
Two little tykes who love to play,
And there was a poinsettia for Nelson, Gay.
A princess dress was in Santa’s sack
For Alyssa Sylvia and a new backpack
For Madeleine Tully who needs it for books.
Then for Allie Pratt who often cooks
And makes grand salads, was a salad bowl,
While Vanessa Czarnecki got a stole
To keep her warm on chilly nights,
And Anita Magid got only smooth flights
As she circles the globe on endless trips.
And Julie Keefe got a pair of grips
To wear dog-walking in snow and ice
For falling down just wouldn’t be nice.
Then Penny Huff got a new bass guitar
And Louis Larsen some Arctic char
That is so tasty and quite rare
Since it comes from the land of the polar bear.
Gwendolyn Jarrell got a ball for Stella
And then there was for that nice fella
Gabriel Bradley, a grand bulldozer
While Santa had for Diana Dozier
Money for dogs and money for cats,
Money for rabbits and money for bats,
Money for animals strayed and lost,
For her Animal Shelter at some cost
Looks after the homeless four-footed ones —
There’s never an animal that it shuns.
There was fog, in a sack, for Bumblebee Lane,
So the big house there won’t look quite the same
When the bag is opened and the fog inside
Will all come out and it will hide
That Quitsa structure neighbors can’t abide
It’s too large a mansion close to their homes,
Of this Chilmark worry St. Nick had read tomes
Even at the North Pole where he has his home.
And he had heard, too, of the East Chop fuss
That town officials don’t like to discuss
There’s a mansion abuilding with terraces five
And with decks in addition and with a wide drive.
And St. Nick looked weary and heaved a great sigh
For his old-fashioned Vineyard will be gone by and by.
But he dove in his sack for more gifts all the same
For to forget presents would be a great shame.
And for Ben David, Gus, was a crane that goes “whoop,”
While for his wife Debbie, was a hula hoop.
For Mary Van Noordennen was vintage jewelry
While Robert Skydell who once had a brewery
Got a villa in Venice for holiday time —
A gift that surely should make him sublime.
Then Kenny Belain, with his old car,
Got a trip to Hershey if ’twill go that far.
For Joanne Scott was a garden of lavender
While for Jean Rossi was an orange pomander.
Then Michael Jacobs got more sheep
So it seems unlikely he’ll sail the deep
If he has a flock to tend year-round
They surely won’t want to sail Vineyard Sound.
Then Noah Manning got a mini police car,
And for Maggie Schwartz there was caviar.
For Mayhew, Ted, Santa had in his pack
A boat binnacle that will keep him on track.
There were Cornish pasties for Orazem, Garrett
And Suzan Bellincampi got a talkative parrot
To talk to the guests at Felix Neck
And urge each one of them to write a check
To Mass Audubon to help that cause.
There are so many good things that it really does.
Then Lemi Marshall got a Jack-in-the-Box
To play with at his grandma’s, Marjorie Potts.
Tim Carroll got a cruise in the Bahamas
While Barbara Ronchetti got a few llamas
To join the alpacas on her farm.
They won’t, of course, do each other harm.
Then Janice Manter got a Foxwoods ticket
And David Nathans, who doesn’t play cricket,
Got a sleeve of golf balls, just the ticket.
And Sammy Dyer got his own fire truck
With bells and whistles that won’t get stuck
In Vineyard sand when he comes to see
His Mitchell grandparents in West Tisbury.
For Davis, Jake and Davis, Sarah,
Santa had an emu who was called O’Hara
’Twas to join their rooster and Muscovy duck
And other birds that are in their flock.
Then in St. Nick’s sack was a circus pass
For Evelyn O’Brien, that doughty lass
Who’ll soon be 103, it seems
And still of the circus frequently dreams.
Kay Holcomb got singing birds and deer
In her lovely yard to bring her cheer.
Then Bernie Whitney got a holiday
With skies always sunny, never gray.
And Richard Clark got rain gear warm
To keep him dry in every storm
When the wind blows strong and the rain pelts hard
Somehow he can always disregard
What the weather does at the steamship dock
He always is friendly to the flock
Of passengers pouring onto the boats.
Then Diane Powers got some oats
For the horses she tends, while her dog Sailor
Got his own TV set made to order
With programs just for the canine set
(With lots of barking, one can bet.)
And Matthew Stackpole got a high-speed boat
To whisk him from Connecticut (a bit remote)
To the Vineyard weekly to get his rest
Though Mystic Seaport is surely blessed
To have him there with his advice —
That certainly makes things very nice.
Scott Ellis got a ribbon blue
For all the good deeds he does do.
When pipes are frozen, furnace out
All one needs do is give a shout,
He’ll come with tools and make things right.
Even if it is the dead of night.
There was lutefisk for Osmundsen, Jim
Because it always appeals to him.
Then Nelson Bryant got venison stew
And Carolyn Flynn a bonsai new.
Christopher Riger got a new cow shed
And Winnie Tate a coat bright red
With reflector lights for her evening strolls,
While Criseyde Jones got lobster rolls.
For Durkee, Steve was some Purell
And then, for when he rings the bells,
Warren Doty got some elegant gloves.
For Tillie Taylor whom everyone loves
There was a rattle to shake out songs
Since she to the musical Taylors belongs.
Then CeeJay Jones got a comfy chair
For the info booth, for when he’s there
In Oak Bluffs town to help its guests —
The aid he gives is just the best.
There was a new Honda for Mya Sharp
And for John Athearn there was a tarp
To cover his kayak that sails and paddles
Whenever he chooses, it skedaddles
Around our ponds and rivers and streams.
It’s really the kayak of his dreams.
For Ted Meinelt was a driver and car
So he can have outings near and far..
And Rhoda Diamond, who likes to read,
Got a passel of books, while for Warren Mead
Was a new chalk box for his roofing jobs.
Then Joanie Ames got some corncobs
For Thunder the Pig who loves them so
And they, of course, help him to grow.
There were garden flowers for Sandy Grimes,
While for Mike Flynn there were some limes
For the drinks he makes at the Reading Room
And for Ceci Flynn there was garden loam.
Next, Nelson De Bettencourt got honey,
It doesn’t, of course, make him any money
But he likes his honey all the same
And the bees he keeps are remarkably tame.
Bob Cooke’s Vernon got a box of Triscuits
And for Marc Hanover there were biscuits
To add to the menu at Linda Jean’s,
While Marjorie Pierce got lima beans.
For Trina Kingsbury’s animal crew
Were car seats for travel for ’tis true
There are car seats now for back seat pets
And they’re endorsed by most of the vets.
Then Phronsie Vibberts got a scarf of blue
And Sarah Reekie received one, too.
Dianne Nolan got a new race to run
Since she finds running to be such fun.
Joe Keenan got a book advance
While for Mal Jones, who likes to dance,
Was a carpet new to cover his grass.
And for Hans Goeckel was a 50-pound bass.
Then Judy Williamson got a fine wine
To warm her up in wintertime.
Alison Mead got catnip for Kitty
Who really is so very pretty.
Next for Mev Good, for his history teaching,
That was so much more than simply preaching
He made the facts all come alive
From the battlefield to the world of jive.
There was a medal to pin on his chest
For his students all call him the very best.
Then Kennedy, John, for brisk winter days
When he’d like to be out beneath the sun’s rays,
Got a winter membership in the Vineyard Golf Club,
While Christine Gault got a pretty new shrub.
And for Jack Ketcham with his Model T
Was a wrench so it goes where he’d like it to be.
There were bigger binoculars for Culbert, Rob
So that he, even better, can do his job
Of tracking the birds over land and sea,
A task he enjoys so mightily.
Then Sarah Peters got a big umbrella
That was green and white and blue and yellow.
While for Brandy Wight came the sheer delight
Of a Vineyard visit when the time seems right.
Then for Jim Alley there was a chauffeur,
And for Annie Wells came a cat with a purr
To be her companion on Gazette press days
When otherwise she just has to laze
In her office bed and that’s a real bore,
With a cat companion as conspirator
She could race about and bark and play
The way dogs should on every day.
And then there was for Kellman, Ray
A springtime visit to Paris gai.
Then for Paradise, Dick, for his Film Center
There were accolades since it couldn’t be better.
Olive Tomlinson got a bigger car
To take Meals on Wheels both near and far.
Then Crystal Ewart got a new house,
And for Mya O’Neill there was a pet mouse.
Lynn Buckmaster got new limbs on her tree
Replacing the limbs that there used to be.
And Charlayne Hunter-Gault for the parties she throws
Got stunning bouquets with ribbons and bows.
While for Kathy Scott and for Snider, Mark
Santa plucked from his sack as the sky grew dark
A reprieve that would save our Island waters
For all our sons and for our daughters
From water wind farms that are in sight
Of Island beaches — what a blight.
And what a danger to our whales,
Our birds and fish and to our sails
To airplane flight plans, Island beauty —
St. Nick saw it as a duty
To curtail towers that studies show
Are not for us, as we all should know —
If we would keep our waters free
For St. Nick, fish and you and me.
By then St. Nick had an empty sack;
His reindeer needed an evening snack.
His Vineyard friends were on their way
Home to their towns at the end of the day.
And the Gay Head light had begun to flash
As St. Nick and his reindeer began their dash
Back to the sky and above the sea —
Its gleaming light showed them just where to be
As it has shown whalemen and fishermen, too,
And just plain folks like me and you
For centuries now as it’s glowed from Gay Head.
“May no modern contrivance beam now in its stead.”
So St. Nicholas said as he drove out of sight
Wishing all of the Vineyard a very good night.