Twas the night before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, and all through Key West,

Not a creature was stirring, not even the houseguest.

No stockings were hung by chimneys this time,

No need for a chimney in the Southernmost clime.

Tourist were nestled all snug in their beds,

While tunes from the Conch Train danced in their heads.

Mama in her Kino's and I in bare feet,

Settled down with mojitos for a sweet Christmas treat.

When out in the harbor there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from my hammock to see what was the matter!

Out to the porch I stumbled through clutter,

Cranked open the jalousie and threw up the shutter.

The moon through the palm trees beamed galore,

And gave a luster of midday to the cruise boats offshore.

When what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh with eight tiny Key deer.

With a little old driver, so quick to honk,

I new in a moment it must be St. Conch.

More rapid than powerboats, his Key deer flew,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called to them, too.

"Now, Mira! Now Lewis! Now Bethel and Curry!

On Wardlow! On McCoy, On Spotswood.... HURRY!

From From the end of North Roosevelt , to the foot of Duval,

Now, dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

Like banana leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with a sunset, there up in the sky.

Up to my widow's walk the Key deer they flew,

With a sleigh full of mangoes, and St. Conch too.

And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof,

The disco-like beat of each tiny hoof.

As I drew in my head and was turning around,

Down the gumbo limbo, the ole conch came with a bound.

Oh his shoulder he carried an iguana with warts;

Wore a souvenir T-shirt and little red shorts.

He wore flip-flops and sported a palm frond chapeau,

Carried a Pina Colada with an umbrella to go.

He was puffing away on a Cuban cigar,

Blowing rings toward Havana , over the bar.

Even though his get-up made me think, "Yikes!"

His snowy white beard said "Hemingway Look-Alikes".

A bundle of coconuts he held with great care,

So he looked like a vendor from Mallory Square .

His eyes how they twinkled!

His slow Southern drawl,

Revealed he'd been bar-hopping down on Duval.

He worked fast and furious, without a flub-a,

Leaving little presents, for each and every Bubba.

Then laying a finger aside his sunburned nose,

Giving a big nod, up the gumbo limbo he rose.

He sprang to his sleigh and his Key deer they fled

Right up U.S.1,toward Homestead .

And I heard him exclaim as he soared past Key West Bight,

Merry Christmas to all, have a happy Conch night