‘Twas the night before Christmas

Big thanks to Ingrid, our intrepid sailor of the great seas for this painting!

Thanks to Bruce and Sheila for this entertaining tale of woe (or as Joost puts it, Of mice and Seamen) from Heritage Harbour:

T’was the night before Christmas
and all around the dock
not a creature was stirring
not even Schokkenbroek

When out on the dock there arose such a clatter
We sprang from our bunk to see what was the matter
Away to the deckhouse we flew like heck
Tore open the door and stepped out on deck

The rain beat down from the clouds oer’head
We wished then we had stayed in bed
When what to our bloodshot eyes did avail
But a lovely red dory drawn by a half-dozen whale
With a little old sailor so grumpy and mean
We recognised him then as Santa-Ratso O’Green

He looked round the harbour with a glint in his eye
Then dumped out his sea-bag which was somehow dry
All over the dock now his Christmas gifts scattered
“A hundred little mice,” the old salt nattered

“Get aboard North Star, Ella, and Querencia
On Moonbeam, on Winsome, and Fantasea”
“Stop now!” we cried, “these are not presents
we’ve already got otters, a beaver, and herons”

“On Sylvester, Mysterion, Milo, Legenda,
Poseidon, Ruggen, Molly, Ern and Anja”
“Vast heaving,” we cried, “this will not do”
But up on the boats his visitors flew

As halyards rattle when not made fast
His charges surged forward, some right up the masts
We called then, “You swine, Santa-Ratso O’Green
Your presence not wanted, you are very mean!”

We stood and we stared at each other afloat
Us in our nightclothes, he in his boat
His beady eyes tracked us up and down
And his face wrinkled into a deep frown

“These mice are the best
They make beautiful nests
They scurry, they scrabble and though they are small
they’re heritage mice – a treat for you all”

He called to his whales and tugged on their reins
Around us fell more Vancouver rain
But we heard him exclaim as he sailed out of sight

Merry Christmas to all, and hopes for a New Year that brings things back to normal eventually!

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