FALL 1980, p. 2


CHRISTMAS POEM

Written by Louis B. Shriver to his two nieces—Winnie [b. 1875] and Catharine [b. 1878], Mother and Aunt of Dr. Frederic S. Klein [and Philip S. Klein and Richard H. Klein.  Poem probably written around the early 1880s.]

My dear little girls, in the middle of last night

While both of you were sleeping tight,

As I have always done in years gone by

I harnessed up my reindeer brisk and spry

To make my journey throughout all the land

And bless the children on every hand.

I called Mrs. Santa Claus up out of bed

And told her to help me to load up the sled

Which we soon had filled with candies and toys

And other good things for girls and boys.

When everything was ready I made a big jump

And landed in the sleigh with a very heavy thump;

Then bidding Mrs. Santa a jolly good-night

Away I flew and was soon out of sight.

We made such a noise when we passed the North Pole

that a big grizzly bear bounced out of his hole.

Without stopping I threw him a big slice of meat

And said, "give your cubs a good Christmas treat";

It pleased him so that he laughed out loud,

He danced a jig and even bowed.

My reindeer team with its many nimble feet

Was the best in the country and couldn't be beat,

And who couldn't be proud with such a tally-ho

As they galloped and danced o'er the bright sparkling snow.

The man in the moon looked down with a smile

When he saw how quickly we skipped o'er a mile.

I smoked my pipe as I rode along

And sang with the bells a good Christmas song.

And so we went on, crossing big hills

Till at last we came to the good Old Mills.

The children there I am always glad to see

Because I love them and they love me.

The first place I stopped at was up on the hill,

For there I had three little stockings to fill.

When the stockings were filled, I took a sly peep

At the three little ones tucked in their beds fast asleep.

And brushing the frost from my old white beard

I gave each one a kiss that you might have heard.

By this time the reindeer made such a prattle

That I said to myself its time to skedattle;

So pulling the fire-board out on the floor

I popped up the chimney and was off once more.

The slate roof you know is very smooth and steep

And we all tumbled down in the great big heap;

And wasn't that indeed a very sorry plight

For poor old Santa on a bright Christmas Night;

But the children one and all must have their gifts

In spite of upsets or big snow drifts,

And as I slowly crawled out from under the sleigh

I remembered that where'er there's a will there's a way;

I threw off my overcoat which was heavy and thick

And had the sleigh set up again double-quick;

I then went to each reindeer and patted his head

And said "My good fellows I am glad you're not dead".

The candies and toys were pretty well mixed,

But by working very hard I got everything fixed.

We hurried down the hill and out through the gate

For the upset had made us about one hour late.

Those reindeer ran, yea, I might say flew

And I was soon in the room of your good uncle Lou.

In coming down the chimney which looked pretty black

I had a tight squeeze with my big, heavy pack,

But I pushed and I pulled till at last I got down

And the first thing I did was to take a look 'round.

Harry and your uncle slept soundly without fear

And little did they dream that old Santa was so near;

The stove made the room so warm and so bright

That to stay a little while I thought would be right.

I took off my great coat and laid it on the chair

And moved about the room with the greatest of care;

I sat by the stove and there began to think

And I wondered if I couldn't find something good to drink;

I hunted all around and I hunted very sly

For I tell you what it is I was getting pretty dry;

I opened very slowly the old kitchen door

And I saw three cider barrels placed on the floor,

Very handy, indeed, was a glass tumbler, too

Which told a bad tale on your old uncle Lou.

I drank a glass empty some three times or more,

Which I thought was enough or I might get tore,

I came back again feeling boozy you may bet,

But to fill up your stockings I did not forget .

As I filled them I thought what could please the girls better

Than to receive from Santa Claus a good long letter,

So I went to the chimney and unstrapped my pack

And took out a nice sheet of large fools-cap,

I sat by the table where pen and ink were handy

And was soon writing away like a regular Jim-dandy.

As I wrote, one of the chaps in the bed gave a snore

That the people might have heard way down in Baltimore

But I didn't care, I went right ahead

And was bothered very little by the snores from the bed.

Hark - listen, what is that – Caramba - can it be?

Why as sure as I live 'tis the clock striking three

So no time could be lost, my leave I must take

Or I will not get home till way after daybreak.

Then bless you my dear children — be good all the year,

And when Christmas comes again Santa Claus will be here.

 

Affectionately,

S. Claus

 

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Line drawing of the Homestead by Richard Weidman.