Chicago’s ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas


Chicago’s ‘Twas The Night Before Christmas

By Julie Oleszek

'Twas the night before Christmas, as a blizzard a brew,
Not a cat was seen napping, not a single bird flew;
The stockings upon each little child’s foot,
Was warmed by the fire, ashes and soot;
When time for bed came, they climbed under the sheet,
Their bedroom windows rattling and pelted with sleet.
The cat on the bed and the dog on the floor,
Had just settled in and were beginning to snore.
When a shingle tore loose soaring into the night,
Then striking the street lamp and dowsing its light.
I ran to the window and peered down below,
A mixture of snow and moonlight gave a lustrous glow.

The wind was howling, the snow whirling around,
When something appeared poking up from the ground.
I squinted my eyes and put my face to the pane,
“Good Heavens!” I yelled out. “It’s some kind of plane.”
With a second and third glance, “That’s no plane,” I denied,
Not with twenty-eight deer hooves pointing up toward the sky.
And then behold, he settled into place,
A roundish ol’ man with fright on his face.
A suit of red and panicked reindeer,
A sleigh on its side in desperate repair.
I flew from the window and ran to assist,
My coat and my boots, I had certainly dismissed.
First Donder then Blitzen I plucked from the snow,
Then Cupid and Vixen came from below.
Comet was dazed at the edge of the yard,
But emerged in one piece and appearing unscarred.
I pried and I dug to free Dasher and Dancer,
But nowhere to be found was the reindeer named Prancer.
Poor Santa was busy untangling the reins,
From his legs and his waist and other domains.
He panted and coughed but calm he remained,
Gave a shriek of a whistle and called his reindeer by name.
"Here Dashy and Dangle and Pringle and Dixson,
Comic and Cupie and Gandhi and Blixen."
“Santa,” I asked, “Are you sure you’re okay?
I think you’ve been injured when you crashed your red sleigh.”

“Now listen here, sonny, I’m not new at this gig,

                                                                              But this Chicago snowstorm has ruined my rig.                                                                               
Never have I traveled a city with such chill,
Blizzards and storms and icicles are no thrill.”
Santa inspected his sleigh from the force of the crash,
He examined the runners, the throttle, the seat and the dash.
“How do you live with this wintery wind?” He turned with a frown,
It took my sleigh from the sky and pelted me down.”
“But Santa,” I said, “Surely the North Pole has got to be worse,
Atop of the world where the weather is adverse.”
“Chicago, my friend, is the epitome of cold,
You’ve been blasted with temperatures of 84 below.
That, mister-sir is for penguin-like land,
Not for myself nor my reindeer and elves to withstand.”

He brushed off the snow from his whiskers and face,
Pulled on his left boot and tightened his belt into place.
“I need only to gather my bags of Christmas toys,
And be on my way to reach good girls and boys.”
And then that ol’ St. Nick went weak in the knees,
As he counted seven reindeer shivering from freeze.
“I’m missing a reindeer,” he panicked it seemed.
“Eight reindeer I must have as part of my team.”
The street lamp now broken from the shingle above,
Held a tiny reindeer clinging on, like that of a glove.
Faint bleats could be heard through the whistling wind,
And there we found Prancer, disheveled and skinned.

We both stood there, bewildered, Santa and I,
Wondering how to save Prancer and convince him to fly.
“Come on, boy,” Santa coaxed. But his words played no role,
Prancer shivered and shook and clung to that pole.
Now, I’d been most gracious outside in this storm,
Pulling reindeer from snow with no coat to stay warm.
I’d agree, Chicago had bone-chilling chills,
But Chicago was home and a city with thrills.
“Pull yourself together!” I yelled up to that buck,
“Let go of that pole and get your body unstuck.
There’s a job to be done so bring yourself down,
Be on your way so you can travel around town.”
Just as I was weary, that my words had not done the trick,
Prancer slithered down that pole and he slithered down quick!
All Santa’s reindeer lined up in a row,
And they started to move, starting out very slow.

With a sound of a jingle and at Santa’s command, “Yup!”
The reindeer pulled hard, lifting Santa’s sleigh up.
I watched ol’ Saint Nicholas and his eight reindeer ascend,
Everything intact without a single loose end.
As I walked toward the house all covered in snow,
I heard jingle bells jingling above and then coming in low.
As I turned to look from where I stood on the stoop,
Santa’s sleigh came around for one final swoop.
A smile broadened his face and he gave a huge wave,
“Thank you, sonny,” he called out. “It’s Christmas you’ve saved.”
Into the house, I skipped with delight,
A job well-done for this Christmas Eve night.
Santa and his reindeer could deliver toys by his sled,
To good girls and boys who were tucked into bed.
I climbed under my covers and closed my eyes for the night,
And thought about how I’d saved Christmas tonight.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to ALL!

 And to ALL, a good night!