A Canoe Builders' Christmas

Paraphrased by jjoven

on a poem by

By Stacy Smith - College Grove, Tennessee - USA

‘Twas the night before Christmas

And all thru the shop

Not a project was finished

With no time to stop.

The oiled paddles dried

By the woodstove all day,

But the darned stuff, still sticky,

Just got in the way.

With me in my coveralls

And the cat on the floor…

(Duct tape blocked the wind

Through the crack in the door)

Had both agreed early

We’d fought the good fight,

But we knew it was going

To be a long night.

When under the hull

There arose such a clamor

I flattened the end of my thumb

With the hammer.

Searched for a weapon

I began to prattle ,

“Come out from there now,

Or I’ll use this paddle!”

Then what to my bloodshot

Eyes should appear

But a crusty old canoeist

Picking dust from his ear.

His whiskers, how wiry;

His clothes, what a sight,

Wondered I, “Had the old

Fool been there all night?”

But the tools in his Cookes

Custom bag on the floor

Soon led me to know that

He’d seen canoes before

He spoke not a word -

With a grunt and a jerk,

He snatched up his tools

And went right to work.

Oh the Old Man was flying,

‘Twas poetry, almost.

What manner of Messer-

About was this ghost?

The old codger made the

Shop tremble and quake

Fore, aft and abeam,

Raising dust in his wake.

He ripped and he planed,

And he sanded and shaved

Till the hull was so fair

I quipped, “Christmas is saved!”

With 'poxy he then covered

The hull with S glass

That canoe was glowing !

Like a diamond in a goats behind

Then as quick as he’d started

He bagged up his gear,

And wiping the fresh lump of

Goop from his ear,

He brought forth a flask

That he kept in his vest,

Then he sprinkled the bow,

And knocked back the rest.

We stood back and toasted

All lakes and rivers,

We cursed rocks and sweepers

And cold water shivers.

With a wink and a nod,

And then, moving the cat,

He propped up the bow of the

Boat as he sat.

“Keep paddling!” he said,

Crawling under the hull,

“Tho’ we all must grow old,

We don’t have to grow dull”.

Then exclaimed from beneath

As he turned hard to eddy,

“If you can’t paddle fast,

At least paddle steady!”

That’s fantastic!
I was visualizing every bit of it as I read it.

cheers, and Merry Christmas,


Thanks for sharing. It is great.

you oughta print that and use it as a Christmas card next year, that’s good stuff well written, thanks for sharing it

Send him my way! I’m ready to
get 'er done!

Most excellent!