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Toddler child looking out a big window to see Santa fly in the sky.

’Twas the Snowmobiler’s Night Before Christmas: A New Translation of an Old Poem

By Stephen King

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
 

Translated: It was Christmas Eve … Things were pretty laid back.

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. Mice? Mama would never allow that. If she’d seen the mice, I would be a-stirring.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care.  

Me and the wife and the kids had put some major mileage on the sleds that day. And, we were drying out the socks.

In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.  

Yeah, right. All we were thinking was dry footgear for tomorrow.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.  

All that riding had the kids plum tuckered right out. Sugar plums? Yeah, right on that, too. More like playing on their phones with pizza and sodas on the side.

And Mama in her ’kerchief, and I in my cap,

Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.

Mama in her jammies and me in my skivvies had just hopped in the rack for a little sack time.

When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,

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

Sounded like someone was makin’ off with the sleds!

Away to the window I flew like a flash,

Tore open the shutter and threw up the sash.

Mama wouldn’t budge. Told me to deal with it. So, I had to check it out.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow

Gave the lustre of midday to objects below.

Say what? The streetlights were on and I could see what was up.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.

No way, it was eight 120s all hitched together, draggin’ an old dude in a cutter.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

Santa had upgraded to souped-up 120s!

More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,

And he whistled and shouted and called them by name!

Santa gave the driver’s roster.

“Now Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen!

On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Donner and Blitzen!

That was way back when. This time around the track it was: Now, Blair! Now Tucker! Now Michael! Now Levi! And, just to be politically correct: On, Karry! On, Victoria! And, can’t forget the Straight Line guys: So, on, Courtney! On, Bam Bam!

“To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall!

“Now, dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”

Major tabletop! Hit them throttles and leap, boys and girls! Get this rig to the roof!

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.

So, up to the house-top the coursers they flew,

With the sleigh full of toys and St. Nicholas, too.

Up, up, up the snowcrossers flew, with the shrieking cries of “straightliners don’t fly!” from the drag-racing duo.

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

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

They made it! All those little sleds and the old guy with the huge backpack. They were on my roof! And, from the sounds of it, those little sleds were all tricked out with some major studs.

As I drew in my head and was turning around,

Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

The old dude bounced out of the cutter when they hit and fell down the smokestack!

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,

And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.

A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,

And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.

Naw, not this dude. He had on some awesome riding leathers and carried one major backpack. And, when he stepped out of the fireplace, he didn’t have a speck on him. Talk about your Christmas magic.

His eyes — how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!

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

His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,

And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.

He was one happy old dude … for just falling down a smokestack.

The stump of a 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 full of jelly.

Smelled like some pretty good weed. Think I might have caught a contact high.

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

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

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

Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

The dude was cool. And in good shape. Riding a sled is just like working out at the gym. Keeps you in good shape. And, from the look in his eye when he saw I was watching, I figured he wasn’t here to rip off the joint. Looked more like he was bringing samples of this year’s new snowmobile accessories. Helmets and goggles and jackets and gloves. Fog free with electric warmers, too. The good stuff.

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 the chimney he rose!

The old dude never even made a sales pitch. Just left the goodies and lit out back up the chimney. 

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,

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

But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,

“Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night!”

He hopped back in the cutter and the Christmas tree lights turned green. The draggers hit the throttle and the snowcrossers jumped and the whole bunch flew off with the old dude yellin’ out, “Merry Christmas to all you riders and a happy new sled to all you good boys and girls.”

Merry Christmas and a happy, safe 2021!

From all of us here at Michigan Snowmobiler magazine.

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