‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the ‘hood,
Not a creature was stirring, not even the shoulds.
The ‘possums, the ‘coonies, the owls had all ceased
As the wind began coldly to howl from the east.
The humans were nestled all snug in their beds
As jolly old visions a’danced in their heads.
And Bob in his boxers and I in my sweats
Had just settled in for one last tete-a-tete.
When out in the back there arose an odd sound,
Causing us both to leap up with a bound.
Away to the windows we flew like a flash,
We peeped through curtains; had we locked the sash?
The moon on the grass that was barren of snow
Showed nothing at all was lurking below,
When what to our wondering eyes should appear
But a wee little squirrel missing part of one ear.
He was old, he was bright, he was lively and quick;
We knew right away that his name must be Nick.
Before we could blink he began a fast chatter
And his tiny paws tapped in a sharp pitter-patter.
“Now winter has come and what do you do?
Do you ever consider those so unlike you?
From the tops of the trees to the burrows so deep,
Do you know what they do to have safe and sound sleep?
“As the days become short and the nights cold and long
The furry must scurry, the birds sing no song;
There’s no time for much but the briefest forray
To find just a bite to live just one more day.”
And then, in a twinkling, we heard on the roof,
A padding of paws, not the prancing of hoof;
We turned from the window and as our gaze shifted,
Down the chimney Nick tumbled; the soot, how it drifted!
He was followed by several squirrels, large and small,
Each of them sporting black ashes to fall
All over the hearth to then darken the rug;
Each of them grinned and then each gave a shrug.
Their eyes, how they twinkled! Their tails, oh-so-bushy!
Their noses were twitching; our hearts grew all mushy.
Their droll little mouths were drawn up in a bow
And one or two muzzles shown white as fresh snow.
Their tails were a’twitching with anticipation
That sent the soot circling in dark celebration.
They had tiny smudged faces and round little tummies
That shook as they laughed; as if we were the dummies.
Together they looked like right jolly wee elves
And we laughed at the sight, in spite of ourselves;
A wink of dark eyes, a slight tilt of their head,
Soon gave us to know we had nothing to dread.
Though now even Nick was not speaking a word,
What was needed we heeded for clearly we’d heard.
Handfuls of nuts, a cherry or four,
And a big dish of water were set down on the floor.
After eating and drinking, they all sat up tall,
Then away to the chimney they dashed, one and all;
But we heard them exclaim as they leaped out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all! And to all a good night!”