W est Tisbury’s Mill Pond was all white;
The snow on the cattails a pretty sight.
The mallards were swimming up and down.
A wood duck, too, was visiting town,
And hooded mergansers were having their day
While in their incredibly stately way
Babette and Romeo — that elegant pair
Of swans that assuredly add such flair
To Mill Pond waters were cruising about
Enjoying a breakfast, without a doubt,
Of cornbread supplied by Jenkinson, Joan,
Who looks after the swans all on her own
Because they make such a picturesque sight
On Mill Pond waters and bring delight
To passersby on their way to and fro
Who slow their cars to enjoy the show
Of swans and ducks and geese that grace
That exceptionally pretty West Tisbury place.
N ow St. Nick as Christmas Day drew near
With his sleigh of gifts and his reindeer
Was high in the sky over Vineyard Sound
And he and they were looking around
For a place to land on the Island shore —
A place where they hadn’t put down before —
When down below they sighted the pond
With all of West Tisbury out beyond —
The church with its steeple, the grand town hall,
The library building that one and all
Are looking forward to seeing grow —
All that was stretching down below,
And the Mill Pond seemed the perfect spot
So they thought they would give it a first shot
And so they descended to where there was ice.
At the Mill Pond end it was perfectly nice.
S o down they did come, and St. Nick with a shout
Was soon out of the sleigh and prancing about
With a sack full of goods for Vineyard folk;
Bursting open with gifts was his Christmas poke.
And first he pulled out a mess of bay scallops,
They always provide a good Christmas wallop,
For Richard Knabel who needs good fare
Since of town selectmen he is the chair.
Then Otis Rogers got gas for his car
Since he likes going driving near and far.
For Baby Erick in Aquinnah town
Was a rocking horse for when he is grown.
There were solar panels for Adam Hayes
And Francine Kelly got a chaise
Now that she has retired from Featherstone;
For Curry Schwartz was a tasty bone.
Harriet Bechrel got anti-freeze
And Katherine Long who makes good cheese
Got milk aplenty so t’will be a breeze
To turn out Manchego and fine Swiss —
With her tasty cheeses there’s never a miss.
F or Phieu Phan there was sticky rice —
It really is so very nice.
And Liz Villard got a brand new ghost
About which, she, of course, will boast
As it prowls the streets of Edgartown
Clad in a black silk dressing gown.
Randy Ben David got corn for pigs,
And Trippy Barnes got two new rigs
For transporting goods — but at his digs
In West Tisbury town there won’t be room
To have them park — there they’d bring gloom.
There was a Jaguar for Rego, Rich
And Pinot Noir for Posin, Mitch.
Then Connie Scott got racing tips
And Danga Gabis lots of trips.
Wes Nagy got a new amplifier
And Cameron Parry, Stanley pliers
To help in building his new home
So that he will no longer roam
To Africa and distant places,
While to assure that he’ll win races,
Erik Pekhar got running shoes
With them he certainly won’t lose.
Then Herbert Custer received a cruise
On a Maine windjammer in the spring,
And that should be a pleasant fling.
C olleen Sylvia got a fence for her yard,
And Anne Vanderhoop a supply of lard
For making her pies that are so good.
And then Bill Nash got some heartwood
Of the cocobolo tree for furniture-making,
While for Joe Keenan, once again baking,
There was an oven for making his bread,
While Wyatt Jenkinson got a racing sled.
Then Caroline Kelleher got a pink bow
To go with her hair that does shine so
While Sheila Smiley got props for her plays
And Laurie Clements more land to graze
Her mini-horses that are so cute
While Hatsie Potter got a lute.
Then Ari Lev got a brand new rake
And for Rose Treat a chocolate cake.
Anna Boore Boon got evergreens,
The finest she had ever seen,
To take the place of the ones cut down
Outside her house in Tisbury town.
F or Everett Poole there was Goslings rum —
Dark and smooth — oh rum-a-dum-dum
For stormy nights when the north wind blows
To keep him warm to the tips of his toes.
Then Jackie Clason got the perfect pup;
And Ethel Sherman a bumper crop
Of beach plums for making her jelly grand.
There is no better in all the land.
There were typewriter ribbons for Hoagland, Ted,
And for Connie Sanborn a poinsettia red.
Marjorie Rogers and her cats and kittens,
Like the nursery rhyme sort got pairs of mittens
To keep them warm on wintry nights,
And then Ed Sussman got a round-trip flight
To visit New Zealand — that faraway land
Where hot springs bubble right out of the sand.
And Samuel Dyer got a slide
That he will enjoy some Christmastide
When he grows up — it won’t be long
While for Tom Thatcher there was Hong Kong
On his way to Viet Nam where he likes to go,
And for John Christensen was a boat to row,
For Sail Martha’s Vineyard needs rowboats, too,
When boats set out on the ocean blue.
D on Lyons got a self-loading stove
And William Deeble of Lambert’s Cove
Got John Hough’s book on the Civil War
In case he hasn’t read it before,
T’was a book on tape since they’re such fun
To listen to when you’re on the run.
There were hyacinth bulbs for Eleanor Hoar
And Josh Aronie got more floor
To have more tables in his café,
Which is, of course, up Menemsha way.
Then Martha Moore got a trip back to France,
And that should make her sing and dance.
Santa had in his sack for Phalen, Pat
A magic carpet. It was so that
He can fly with ease to see all those
Whom he helps out when pipes have froze
Or a furnace has stopped — and what to do?
They call on Pat to see them through.
T hen Anne Lemenager got a pet crow.
For Jennifer Reekie there was a trousseau
When she gets married as June comes round
And for Jim Morse there was a bloodhound
To help him out when he’s solving crimes.
For the Todd Alexanders, there were wind chimes
For their new house in Oak Bluffs town
And then Jean Wexler got hand-me-downs
For the Dumptique she started — how it thrives!
For Connie Shanor there were some chives
For the clams casino she can make
When Donald Shanor with his rake
Digs clams from ponds with such delight.
Then for Bette Carroll to keep things right
At Menemsha Texaco was a new calculator
While Jonathan Revere got a radiator
To warm his house when nights are cold
And for Sumner Silverman there was gold
For the orchid brooches he likes to make.
Then for Juli Vanderhoop since she bakes
In a wood-fired stove there was wood to burn
And a weed-free Mill Pond for Glenn Hearn.
T hen for Mark Young was a Drummel tool
That fellow craftsmen will find quite cool.
A winning season was in Santa’s pack
For Matt Mincone, and that was that.
By then Babette and her Romeo
Were a bit put out between the snow
And the prancing reindeer at their pond,
And since they were of each other fond
And liked it best when they were alone,
When the pond was almost their very own
Except for the ducks and the geese who came
On flying visits, but that wasn’t the same
As reindeer that had big antlers and hooves
And usually landed on house roofs.
I t was all very fine for Vineyard folk,
But for the swans it wasn’t a joke
When they longed for privacy and instead
They had St. Nicholas and his sled
And Islanders from up and down —
Oak Bluffs, Tisbury, Edgartown,
Aquinnah, West Tisbury, Chilmark, too,
Such a crowd just made them blue
And a swan, of course, should be glossy white,
Unless it’s a cygnet — then it’s all right
To be grayish in color and rather plain —
Hans Andersen knew it and it brought him fame
When he wrote of the Ugly Duckling, of course,
That wasn’t a duck, or a chicken or horse,
But a baby swan that was ugly as sin
Until it grew up and then it could win
Any bird beauty contest there is anywhere
At any country’s agricultural fair.
S t. Nick, of course, could see they were cross,
The swans with long necks that they do like to toss.
So he said, with a bow, he was sorry, indeed,
To have taken the Mill Pond for his steeds,
But he hoped that the swans in the Christmas way
Would be generous for just one day
So Island folks could have their gifts;
He said he hoped there’d be no rifts
Between swans and reindeer — it was such fun
For the deer to be where there wasn’t a gun
In the hands of a hunter ready to shoot.
Instead they liked bringing Islanders loot
To make them happy — one and all —
And he reached in his bag and pulled out a yawl
For Toby Condliffe, that Tisbury sailor.
And then there was for Francois the Tailor
All sorts of good wishes and mistletoe, too.
And for Mark Jardin of the Steamship crew
There were running shoes to keep him happy.
For Edo Potter over on Chappy
There were sales of her book to one and all
And Leigha d’Antonio got a ball.
For Gladys Widdiss there were gifts of clay
A little to work with every day
As she fashions her candle holders and bowls,
And for Jimmy DuBois there was a Rolls.
T hen Marianne Mead got warm waters in Maine —
That she’s leaving the Vineyard is a real shame.
For the Noah Blocks in Santa’s pack
Was a brand new sofa, while for Michael Black
Good wishes for the year ahead.
Then Zachary Mathias got pajamas, red,
Of the Toy Story kind to keep him happy,
And they were, indeed, incredibly snappy.
For Denise Searle, that classroom pro,
Were Honey Crisp apples from her pupils who so
Enjoy her classes. Then Bob Pacheco
Got a Wusthof knife to cut his meat —
They really are incredibly neat,
And for Michael Brisson there was one, too,
To make dining finer for me and you.
Then Justin Myers got a chicken coop,
And Beatrice Gentry, instead of soup
For wintry days, got Van Droste cocoa
(It’s so good it can make you loco)
But ’twill keep her warm when it’s cold outside
Since, after all, she’s past 95
And now is in her 100th year,
But still, as always, of good cheer.
P eggy Gildea got porcelain art
And Christopher Smith a kiddy cart.
Then for Kym Cyr there was ivy and holly;
At Christmastime that’s always jolly.
Ruth Stiller received a cutting board
And for Charles Blank was a harpsichord.
Then Peter Wells got another sign
For the Chappy Ferry, the On-Time,
And Patty Frank got a house in Aruba,
While for Steve Tully there was a tuba.
Christina Brown got Christmas cheer:
She gives so much to all who’re here.
Then Richie Smith got a dinner at Sharkey’s
And for Jon Mayhew there were two Harleys.
Bill Bridwell got a brand new trowel
And Gus Ben David yet another owl.
And then Ann Burt got two skull corks
And for Sue Whiting was a pair of storks.
Then Nicki Langer got a new French horn
And Allen Healey sheep pre-shorn.
For Carol Brandon was a candy cane
And Betty Eddy got some of the same.
M ark Wallace got a Cuban cigar
And Colin Hurd a brand new car.
There were fishing rods for Menton, Paul
And for Dan Rossi, and tennis balls
For Nina Bramhall who’s a pro
And really does put on a show
On the tennis court when she has time
For she’s a player quite sublime.
There were hawking gloves to please Tom Chase
And a pretty dress all fringed in lace
For Madeleine Tully, frilly and nice.
And Peggy Freydberg got catnip mice
For her cats to play with late at night,
Tumbling and rolling they’re quite a sight.
For Tony Horwitz and Geraldine Brooks,
Both of whom are so into books,
There was a big bookcase in their new home
And for their garden a load of loam.
F or Kenny DeBettencourt there was a crop
Of heirloom tomatoes to make folks stop,
And Debbie Fisher got some, too,
While Anna Alley got a yew.
Then Tami Hirsch got a trip to Kauai
(And the rest of Hawaii, by the by)
And for Jeff Whipple and Searle, Glen,
Those two who are most hardworking men,
Were beach holidays in sunny climes
While T.M. Flynn got lots of limes
For the drinks he mixes at the Reading Room.
And Frances Tenenbaum got roses in bloom.
Then Worthington, Jules, got Uggs for his feet
To keep them warm when there’s snow and sleet.
Then Nelson Bryant got a gift of youth
Since nowadays he’s long in the tooth.
For Alison Cannon and for Jim
Santa had some of the cheeriest cherubim.
F or Richard Reston there were smooth sails;
And for Paula Sullivan on-time mails.
And then of course, for the Kohlberg crew —
For Jerome and Nancy, and their family, too
Were the best of wishes for holiday time:
May all dreams come true in this season sublime.
By then the swans were impatient, indeed,
They wanted their pond and they wanted their feed.
They’d had quite enough of holiday cheer
And the way swans can, they made it quite clear
By stretching their necks and snapping their beaks
That Santa should go or there might be a tweak
Of his long white beard, and that wouldn’t be nice.
Santa Claus understood, and so — in a trice —
He was up in the air in his high-riding sleigh,
And wishing good cheer for Christmas Day.