Unusual Visitor-Peregrina - Ship's Logbook 12/24/2013

Peregrina's Journey
Peter and Margie Benziger
Tue 31 Dec 2013 18:25

I have faithfully recorded, in the ship's log, the following events which occurred on board our sailing vessel
'Peregrina' in this 24th day of the Lord, twelfth month, year 2013.  Captain Peter

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the boat

Not a creature was stirring, not even a cockroach;

The stockings were hung by the galley chimney  with care,

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there;

The first mate still in her topsiders , and I in my Captains cap,

Had just settled down for a nice off- watch nap,

When out on the sea there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the berth to see what was the matter.

Away to the porthole I flew, to look into the night

Twisted open the latches with all of my might

The moon shining on the rollers of  the  neap tide sea

Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects to see,

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sailboat, and eight tiny reindeer,

With a little old helmsman, so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it must be the master mariner, St. Nick.

More rapid than seagulls his coursers they came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;

"Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!

To Peregrina’s main mast, which is so very tall!

Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"

As white spindrifts that before the wild hurricanes fly,

When they meet with a counter current,  mount to the sky,

So up to the peak of the rigging, the coursers they flew,

With the cockpit  full of toys and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the mast top

The prancing and pawing as each hoof did drop

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the companion way St. Nicholas came with a bound.

He was dressed in red foul weather gear, from head to sea boot

And his oil skins were tarnished with salt and with soot;

A bundle of boat gifts he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a buccaneer just opening his pack.

His eyes -- how they twinkled!  his dimples how merry!

His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

His droll little mouth smiling with a kind goodwill notion,

And the beard of his chin foaming white as the ocean;

The stump of a whalebone pipe he held tight in his teeth,

And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;

He had a broad face and a little round belly,

That shook, when he laughed like a bowl of naval jelly.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old nautical elf,

And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;

A wink of his eye and a twist of his sea weathered head,

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,

And filled all the stockings; then turned with a jerk,

And laying his finger aside of his nose,

And giving a nod, up to the masthead he rose;

He sprang to his sailboat, to his team gave a bosun’s whistle,

And away they all sailed like the down of a thistle.

But I heard him exclaim, ere he helmed out of sight,

"Happy Christmas to all sailors

and safe passage tonight."