A Tugboat Christmas

This modified rendition of The Night Before Christmas was written by my good friend Ed Snell. He crafted it a few years ago but it resurfaces annually, much to my delight and that of my fellow mariners, particularly those on tugboats. Merry Christmas to all of the seafarers who are away from family and loved ones this year!

Without further ado…

Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the tug,
Only the deckhand was stirring
The tea in his mug.

The dock lines were hung
By the fiddly with care
In hopes that crew change
Soon would be there.

The tug’s crew was nestled
Safe in their beds
All thankful the pilots
Had taken their meds.

Me, out of my float coat,
And warm woolen cap,
Had just settled in for
A short off-watch nap.

When down in the galley
There arose such a clatter
I rolled right back over-
didn’t care what’s the matter.

While the moon on the breasts
Of the calendar girls
Gave luster to New Year,
They twinkled like pearls.

When what to my wandering eyes should appear?
But a rusty old crew boat
Approaching, too near.

With a little old driver,
All Cajun and thick
I could tell right away,
That he wasn’t too quick.

More rapid than eagles
His curses, they came
As he yelled at his deckhand
And called out bad names.

Go faster!
Get moving!
He was boozed up and drooling!
He had a pistol!
The kind used for dueling!

He was dressed in his besties,
From his head to his testes
Three coonskins, a gator’s hide
And 2 robin’s nesties.

His eyes, they were bloodshot-
His dimples, all hairy
His hair smelled like onions,
His nose was quite scary.

Then up to the wheelhouse
The drunk Cajun flew
With reckless abandon,
Like he’d been sniffing glue.

And then with a clinking
A clunk and a shutter
He flew to the stacks
And slid down like butter.

But he spoke not a word
And went straight to his work
He ate all our junk food
This guy was a jerk!

No gumbo? He asked
Nay Nay, he demanded
For a spontaneous rampage,
It seemed like he’d planned it.

And laying his finger
Beside of his nose
He emptied its contents,
As if blown from a hose.

As I watched from my room
With great confusion,
I couldn’t make any sense
Of the midnight intrusion.

Then he sprang to his crew-boat
Still belching black smoke-
I know I’m up early
But this must be a joke!

And I heard him exclaim
As he steamed out of sight
“I drive boats by day,
And I pillage by night!”

Then up from my nap
I was suddenly wakened
It was all just a dream—
But why am I naked?

 

Ed Snell is the Chief Mate on the Linda Moran, an articulated tug and barge unit. When he is at home in Maine he offers fishing charters out of Portland on the Rita B. 

Matt Garand

About Matt Garand

Lifelong Mainer, and professional mariner, Matt Garand is the creator of A Life Aboard, a look at year-round living on a sailboat in Maine. Matt and his wife, Skye, live aboard in South Portland and use every available chance to throw off the lines and explore the coast.