THE TRUE STORY OF SANTI CLAUS
(Originally read for the Cowboy Poet’s Contest, National Western Stock Show, 1996)
I was listenin’ to Baxter Black,
On NPR the other day.
I love his poems and stories,
And what he had to say.
Now he tends to talk about,
People, animals and the west.
But there was one thing that really bugs me,
The one that I put to the test.
You see, I was listenin’ to the radio
Tryin’ to understand the cowboy poet’s drawl
To learn the diphthongs and perimeters
‘Specially how to say ‘Y’ll.’
Then Baxter told a story,
How the angel got on top of the tree.
But, Baxter, you never told us,
How Santi Claus came to be.
So I done some research,
And low and behold,
The true story of Santi Claus,
Now can be told.
It all started in the winter,
Of Eighteen hundred ought three,
At a little toy store in Brooklyn,
Down on 33rd and Sullivan Street.
It was a wonderful store,
With confections, games and toys,
Where the white haired owner would ask,
“Have you been good little girls and boys?”
Then it happened,
On that snowy December night
When the owner, Sammy
Was awaken with a fright.
Sleeping in comfort,
Red night cap and PJ’s,
When neighbors were heard screaming,
“Sammy, your place is ablaze!”
Now Sammy had no horses,
And it was years before the SkiDoo.
But he had eight reindeer he was watching,
Special for the Central Park Zoo.
He pulled on his black boots,
Then hitched the team to his sleigh,
And with a cry of “Sugar Plum Fairies,”
Ol’ Sammy was on his way.
“Hoo Ha Hoo Ha”
Was the call through the night,
As his store in flames,
Soon came in sight.
By now the crowd had gathered,
All a round the place.
Sammy’s rosy cheeks sparkled,
As the fire’s light hit his face.
As he arrived at the store,
The front was completely aflame,
But the back barn was still safe.
And filled with toys and games.
He grabbed a ladder,
Climbed to the second floor,
And started throwing game and toys,
Out the double hay door.
They were snatch up by children,
Under Sammy’s watchful eye.
He was saving his products,
But was kissing profit good-bye.
He put the candy in stockings,
And then in to a burlap sack,
As he turned to leave,
He threw the bag on his back.
He looked around the shop,
As the clock struck twelve,
Just to make sure nothing else,
Was still sittin’ on the shelves.
He climbed from his perch,
And back to the ground,
Only to be amazed at,
The support he had found.
The children brought him cookies,
Hot chocolate and cider.
Someone brought him a towel,
To remove the soot from the fire.
As he sat in the snow,
A tear came to his eyes,
As the fire was extinguished,
Its light dimmed in the sky.
His friends gathered around,
To ease the trauma from the sight.
The sheriff was heard to say,
“Next year will be better, Sammy Klaus…
And to all, a Good Night.”