Joburg Expat: 'Twas the Night Before Christmas..."

December 19, 2014

'Twas the Night Before Christmas..."

I'm going to be lazy this year and treat you to last year's Christmas poem, which I don't think I ever published here. The sweat and blood (and copious amounts of Chardonnay) I put into all that rhyming warrants a bit more exposure than our list of friends and family who it was sent off to a year ago. Plus, there really isn't much new stuff that has happened to us this year. America will do that to you. So, here goes:

At a House in America in December...

‘Twas some nights before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring but the Microsoft mouse.
The cursor was blinking, the screen was aglow,
And progress, as last year, was painfully slow.

My fingers were tapping on the keyboard with care
In hopes that the Christmas card soon would be there,
When out of the kitchen there arose such a clatter
I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter.

“Could it be?” I was thinking, “Could this be the year,
When Santa and all of his helpers appear?”
For let me speak frankly, I could do with a break,
If only for everyone’s sanity’s sake.

Never mind the big bundle of toys on his back.
What I needed was twenty-one elves in a pack!
Twenty-one elves to do all of my work
Would be ever so lovely a holiday perk.

And right there in the hallway I counted the ways
In which I’d employ an elf army for days:
One to do laundry, one to cook food,
One to scrub sinks, one to lighten the mood.

One to string twinkling chains of light
So our house will pass muster in the dark of the night,
One to check Facebook and one to check Twitter,
And one for the tree to add sparkle and glitter.

I need one who will look at my shopping list
To find all of the presents I might have yet missed.
One rich one to refill my PayPal purse,
And a poet  – for your sake –to help put this in verse.

One I’d dispatch to go drive in the car1)
With Son Two at the wheel, and me very far
Because frankly quite thoroughly up I’m fed
With hours and hours of driver’s ed.

Though thankfully Number One now has license and Leaf
So my time at the wheel’s gone from often to brief
While he transports himself from home to pool
To earn money while whistling from a tall stool.

Celebrity tracking would be one fine job
For a music scene elf whose heart might throb
After Carrie, Nicole, and Keith and Joe Don
Though that last one has sold and since then moved on.2)

That’s thirteen so far, but wait, there is more
To another or two, I offer this chore:
Help sort travel pictures, learn Photoshop,
Which mystifies me, except how to crop.

And one, retroactively, to help us move in
As our patience for moving has worn a bit thin.
Schlepping boxes, hang pictures, fix broken stuff –
The seventh time moving has us yelling “enough!”

Also now that I’ve finally written my book
I need elves to prepare it for Kindle and Nook
One each to edit, draw cover, make website a tease,
That makes three total elves just for Project Book, please!

“But what of last summer,” Saintly Santa might ask,
“Why wasn’t it then that you started your task?”3)
And I would have, except that we answered the lure
Of Amsterdam, Paris, and Winterthur.4)

If you count all these elves, and two more for good measure
You get twenty-one helpers to serve at my pleasure.
And I thought: “That is just the right number I’ll probably need”
As I ran towards the crash in my kitchen with speed.

Alas, ‘twasn’t Santa, not even an elf,
It was Findus the cat who’d pulled cake from the shelf.
“No, Findus!” I yelled and sprayed with Febreeze
And away he scrambled, trailing crumbs and a sneeze.

I’m certain by now you’ve grown bored of this rhyme
Plus not even rhyming elf showed up in time.
So this, folks, concludes Sine’s Poetry Lite
Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!


Findus the cat doing what he does best


1) Speaking of cars, another elf could divide his time between a) driving around town to see if any traffic lights – robots – are out of order or if it is indeed true that they always work, and b) telling all our friends here what a miracle this is to the recent African traveler.

2) Not only did Joe Don Rooney put up his house for sale pretty much the minute we introduced ourselves as the new neighbors, the couple who bought it has since then put it up for sale again. Is something wrong with us?

3) Noisette, who actually sort of shares a name with Santa in his real life, often asks the very same thing.

4) The actual order was the reverse, and more: Frankfurt – Hannover – Heilbronn – Tübingen – Munich – Winterthur – Paris – Amsterdam – Hannover – Frankfurt. I didn’t count the kilometers but we spent nine whole days on a train. And we lived in the crappiest apartment in all of Paris, but guess what: Picasso used to have his studio in the same building! A big thank you to all who hosted us so graciously, too many to name.


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To find out more about our past year, visit www.joburgexpat.com – there is almost nothing that doesn’t make it onto my blog as a story (sometimes to the embarrassment of our kids). We wish you all a happy holiday season and all the best for 2014.


Brought to you by the creators of Joburg Expat, December 2013