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.