’Twas the Christmas of COVID


(with apologies to Clement Clarke Moore)

’Twas the Christmas of COVID, and all Island pets
Were snug in their houses, while down at the vet’s
The IVs were hung by the cages, prepared
In case curbside emergency patients appeared.

Dogs and cats, with their owners, all nestled in beds
While visions of better times danced in their heads.
And I, the old vet, was the doctor on call
But since Hanukkah’s over, ’twas no trouble at all.

Then out of the quiet, my cell phone did beep
A tone loud and urgent that made my heart leap.
What was the matter? A cat hit by car?
Or a dog that had eaten a huge chocolate bar?

I played back my voicemail, holding my breath,
Hoping the message was not life-or-death.
But to my delight, it was good news! Oh boy!
Doctor Holiday’s coming, with tidings of joy!

The moon on the fog over Yellow Brick Road
Could almost give one the impression it snowed.
Then down from Old County, Doc Holiday sped
Calling out to the dogs, which were pulling his sled.

“Now Katama! Now Chappy! Menemsha, and Tashmoo!
On Nobska! On Noepe! On Sachem, and Quansoo!
From East Chop to West Chop, Down-Island to Up!
Dash away! Dash away! Dash away, pup!”

And then, in a twinkling, I heard at the door
The sound of toenails a-scratching the floor.
As I went to the waiting room, and turned on the light
I saw Doctor Holiday. Oh, what a sight!

He was covered in cat hair, from his head to his toes
With Milk-Bones and catnip hanging out of his clothes.
He put down his little black bag with a smile,
Every inch of him looking the true zoophile.

His eyes — they were tired! His nose — how it dripped!
His hands full of scars from the times he’d been nipped.
A shiny gold stethoscope bounced on his belly
And his shoes left a trail of something, well, smelly.

Then after a moment, he opened his bag
And all ’cross the Vineyard, tails started to wag.
“I’m prescribing your patients these magical pills
That will keep them all healthy, and ward off all ills.

“No dogs will get bloat, or eat garbage, or weed,
No cats will eat tinsel, and nothing will bleed.
Puppies won’t chew on electrical wire,
and candles won’t set kitties’ tails on fire.

“And here is a gift for you two-footed folks.
Dr. Fauci has promised this isn’t a hoax.
Relax, just a little. Have a Christmas that’s merry,
The COVID vaccines are arriving by ferry.

“And just to make sure vaccinations get done
I hereby decree every ferry will run!
No boats will be canceled! The one thing I ask
Is, until all this happens, keep wearing your mask!

“Order takeout so all of our our restaurants thrive
And shop local to help all your neighbors survive.
But beyond that, stay home, social-distance yourselves;
Even Santa is staying six feet from his elves.”

He sprang to his sled, to his team gave a whistle
Then added, in Yiddish, “Ich vill schlofen a bissell.”
And true to his word, he fell sound asleep
While I watched him go, then I started to weep.

Twenty-twenty has done us a whole lot of harm
But we’ll turn that around with two shots in each arm!
Have courage, my friends, a New Year’s in sight.
Happy holidays all, and to all a Good Night!



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