"Twas the night before in Cedar Key

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By Warren Parkin

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the isle,

Not a clammer clamming, they were through for a while.

Cedar Key was decked out by the people with care;

Already by airboat, Santa Clam had been there.

The pelicans were nestled all snug on the dock,

Dreaming of sweet fishes and next year’s Sock Hop;

The seagulls they were resting, not causing a flap,

Planning their strategy for when snowbirds came back.

When over the Gulf there arose such a clatter;

Not hurricane sirens, nothing was the matter.

Away to the Park Chief Sandlin flew in a flash,

‘twas surprising to see a golf cart travel that fast.

The starry night moon turned beach sand into snow,

Thousands of cedar tree lights, they twinkled and glowed.

When what to the chief’s wondering eyes should appear,

But an unlicensed sleigh pulled by dolphins not reindeer.

Beside the magic driver, Mayor Colson was quick,

She surely was friends with that good old St. Nick.

More rapid than seagulls, his dolphins they came,

The mayor stood up proud and called out some names;

Now Rose! Now Luz! Miss Frances! All cooking McCains!

Come Bev, come Bill Roberts and Debby of art fames!

Don and Carol, Andrea too! Start from City Hall!

Now dash away! Dash away! Let’s all have a ball!

Like holiday hurricanes, volunteers they did fly,

And in the background – believe it or not – Tom Deverin was spied.

Then throughout the good islands the movers they flew,

Spreading good will, good cheer with St. Nicholas too.

And then of a sudden, I heard a great oomph,

Somehow poor Santa had fallen right off a roof.

But Josh Wilson and Brian Hancock were there for it all,

With Chief Robinson’s quick help, they cushioned his fall.

He sported tank top and shorts, he wore thongs on his feet,

Sunglassed Nick he was styling, prepared for the heat;

He was a bundle of joy, CK Canvas for sack,

You could tell by his clothes, Nick was glad to be back.

He saw things were different, the island gone green;

Solar panels and containers gave off a high sheen.

“Willie Brown, Eileen, Connie Nelson, Betty Rose,

Your hard work has paid off, this is much better than snow.”

The stalk of a twig he held tight in his teeth,

“I’ve given up smoking, I am old but ain’t deaf.”

He had a tan face and a muscular belly,

“I work out, eat right, and got rid of the jelly.”

He was fit as a fiddle, that jolly old elf,

He had spent time at the spa as I should myself;

He winked both of his eyes while nodding his head,

“I love Cedar Key, I need a condo instead.”

Then with help from the locals he started to work,

Giving out pretty presents; then turned with a jerk.

“What you have here is so much better than snows.”

He surveyed the island, “It’s a beautiful rose.”

He ran to the beach, to his dolphins did whistle,

And over the Gulf sailed like down from a thistle.

We all heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight,

“Cedar Key I’ll be back, for more island delight.”