St. Nick’s visit frees the slabs and brings Christmas cheer to the bayou
‘Twas the night before Christmas and all across the lake
Only two ducks were still stirring, a hen and a drake.
The yo-yo’s were hung on the boat dock with care,
In hopes some slab crappie would soon swim up there.
The coots were nestled, all snug by the shore,
They were there by the dozens; three, no… maybe four.
Mamma in her LSU sweatshirt and I in my fishing cap,
Threw the ball to the puppy (when he wasn’t on our lap).
When out on the boat dock there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my feet like I saw a big seafood platter.
Away to the back porch, I flew like a flash,
And saw one of the yo-yo’s with a big fish, splash, splash.
The moon on the crest of the slow-rolling waves
Shined on a giant sac-a-lait that would make anyone rave.
When, what to my wondering eyes did I fix,
But a whole bunch of crappie — four, five, no… now six!
But I stopped in my tracks from walking so quick,
There in a big cypress pirogue sat jolly St. Nick!
His little log boat moved to the dock just the same,
Pulled by eight big fish that he all called all by name:
“Now, CATFISH! now, BREAM, now LARGEMOUTH BASS!
On, SHINER! on CRAPPIE! on CARP of the grass!
Go empty those yo-yo’s. Now get on the ball;
Now swim away, swim away, swim away all!
It was truly a great sight, the blessings of lake life
That put big smiles on the faces of me and the wife.
They had flown in a circle then came down from the blue
With the boat full of presents and old St. Nicholas, too.
And then, in a twinkling, like something from a wish
I heard splishing and splashing from each of his fish.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Across the screen porch St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He dressed in red plaid flannel with green camo boots
His clothes covered with moss just like those old coots.
He said with a smile, “Sorry, I turned loose your fish”
But it’s Christmas for them, too, and it was their wish.
His eyes — how they twinkled! It was such a sight
Like a fresh new bottle of chartreuse glitter Crappie Bites.
I wasn’t really sure what he was fixing to do
With that big old beard white as a 48-quart Igloo.
He looked first to the left, and then to the right
He smiled at the Viennas and cheese we left for his flight.
He stood tall as he walked, you might say that he swaggers,
Even with a belly that shook like black grape Jelly Wagglers.
He was chubby and plump, like my old fishing buddy,
And I laughed out loud though his old boots were all muddy.
Then I saw on his back a big sack of fish bait,
To catch fish plenty of fish, if I could just wait!
He spoke not a word; put them under the tree,
Road Runners, Rat-L-Traps, an LSU-colored Balsa B;
A new minnow bucket and a new rod and reel,
Now I’d be able to catch us plenty a meal!
Then he sprang to his pirogue, to his fish gave a holler,
And headed across the lake but he said, “Now don’t you follow”
They splashed down the channel, down the boat lane to the right,
And called out with a jolly laugh,
“Merry Christmas to all and to all, a good night!”
— Kinny Haddox
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