Merry Christmas, Friends!


Hey, Santa! Yo, neighbors! A word, if we may:

Poetically rendered, regards to convey.

’Tis Christmas, y’all — what apter time

Our greetings to proffer, in dexterous rhyme?

You listening, Kris Kringle? Your aid we’ll invoke

To brighten the Yule chez these excellent folk

Whose virtues we hereby do roundly attest — 

La crème-de-la-crème! (Translation: the best.)

We’ll unpack the fruitcake, the mince pies, the ale,

As these friends with our verses we fondly regale.

We’ll acclaim Skipper Manter (felicitous start),

Append Julie Hitchings, John Alley, Sam Hart.

Tony Novicki we’ll halloo forthwith,

High-five Kristen Norman, extol Leah Smith.

Be bounteous, Santa, pile high the old sleigh

With treats for Dave Miller, Joyce Dresser, Jack Shea.

 For Meredith Aldrich, a bijou — why not?

Jewels for Beth Kramer, Bea Phear, Lindsay Scott; 

Godiva chocolates, the choicest champagne

For Mallory Butler and Kenny Belain.

Our plaudits we’ll shower on Nancy Gardella,

Randy BenDavid, Manny Estrella;

Salutations and manifold blessings bestow

On Ebba Hierta, Chris Carrick, Sam Low.

On Genevieve Jacobs sweet benisons cry;

Applaud Woody Williams — rock on! Semper Fi!

Drear winter’s upon us, but the byword’s good cheer

In this vertiginous run-up to Yule and New Year.

Garland the mantel, string up the lights!

Aloha, Jeanne Dowling, Brian Welch, Barney Zeitz.

A new Smartphone, Santa, for Al Woollacott,

A silk scarf for Sue Larsen, wool socks for Nick Scott.

Steve Donovan see to, perhaps tix to Gillette? 

 iPads for Chuck Robinson and Mary Brisette. 

Morning Star Healy French lace would befit;

Hitch up the reindeer! (We’ll do our bit.)

We’ll fete Gary Maynard, Stan Hirsh, Sarah Vail;

Tony Resendes lustily hail. 


Say hey, Bobby Tankard! Bonjours, Cathy Chase!

Huzzah, Molly Coogan! Skoal, Ellie Bates!

To Simone deSorcy we’ll raise a wee dram, 

And pledge Spenser Binney, Ginny Jones, Susie Graham.

What care we for wind, for tempestuous weather?

Goodwill’s the thing, the season’s true measure.

So spice up the wassail, heap up the fire,

Whilst we to promote it do gamely conspire.

We’ll carol Albert Fischer, wish Jeff Nelson joy,

Lavish encomiums on Larry Conroy.

With a red rose Roberta Hearn we’ll endow,

A boisterous shout-out send Marjorie Lau.

Get on it, Santa, the clock’s running down.

Get hip to Dan Waters, Dave Brodsky, Bill Brown.

An Armani suit for Dave Halsey, M.D.,

Chanel Number Five for Sue Angeley.

We’ll wish Kevin Connelly bestowals galore;

A stocking chock-full for Diana Gilmore.

News flash: The Obamas have alighted on isle,

Quietude seeking, a sunny exile. 

The ex-Prez we’ll welcome with voices upraised,

Recalling more decorous, less indictment-prone days.

Yes, ’tis all tumult now, disorder and strife,

Disseverance rampant, ill feeling rife.

The more apropos, then, this venerable season;

Its call to forbearance, beneficence, reason. 

In this kindly spirit more names will we cull:

Bridget Tobin (of course), Dawn Braasch, Hermine Hull.

Shalom, Deborah Mayhew. Ciao, Michael West.

Regards, Julia Stunkel, may your New Year be blest.

 Dave Finklestein, howdy! Be jocund! Be merry!

Salud, Cathy Brennan! Jack Ryan! John Kerry!

Our time’s on the wane, our versing’s near done,

(Though our neighborly outreach we’ve hardly begun.)

But ere we adjourn our holiday tryst,

We’ll sneak in Steve Atwood, Heidi Schultz, Ilka List.

The candle burns down, the night wind blows higher;

We with our loved ones draw close to the fire.

As to you, august readers, last lines we’ll employ

To give you good tidings of comfort and joy.

To all of you, and to those you hold dear — 

Merry Christmas! All blessings! A Happy New Year! 


John Hough, Jr.’s, most recent novel is “Little Bighorn.” He lives in West Tisbury.