For many years before and after I got married, I owned a 1963 Chevrolet Impala. It was a classic case of buying it from a little old lady who drove it to church every week. The ancient Atlas Plychron tires were dry rotted and came apart on me on the drive home. I think I spent $200 bucks for it. I spent more for the stereo I immediately wired into it.
I drove that car for a decade or more, and for many people, it sort of became associated with me. One year, I wrote a Christmas poem built around the car and gave copies of it to friends and family. But somewhere along the way I lost it, and so did my mom.
Until recently, when a long time friend of mine (Thanks Veronica!) found a copy and sent it to me. So here it is, circa 1981, just for fun.
A Christmas Poem for people with old, faded blue Chevrolets
“Twas the night before Christmas and all through the cabin
every creature was still, not beastlet was stirrin’.
The stocking was hung by the header with care
waiting for Saint Nick, instead of a bear.
When all of a sudden I heard such a clatter,
I sprung from my bed to see what was the matter;
threw open my window, pulled aside my red sash,
when down by the creek I saw a big splash.
A pickup had slipped off the bridge on the ice,
crashed in the creek and rolled over twice.
I jumped to the porch, then off through the woods,
Fearing my help was too late to be good.
As I ran to the creek and came to a stop,
out of the cab Saint Nicholas popped!
“Don’t be surprised” and he winked twice at me.
“Why not invite me for a nice cup of tea?”
So back in the cabin with the tea steaming hot,
he told me the things he did and did not.
“Where ever there’s love, I touch every man.
And I do love the kids and bring gifts when I can.”
“But I can’t drive a lick, of that there’s no doubt.
The truck’s in the creek and I can’t get it out.”
We looked out the window. We both shook our heads.
Water so high that the engine was dead.
“Now what,” said Santa, “Now what will I do?
The pickup’s a wreck. Reindeer down with the flue.
I’ve three sacks of toys and an odd gift or two.
It’s past 1 AM and closing on two.”
To make a long story short, before the first light of day.
we loaded those gifts in my old Chevrolet.
The paint was all faded. The tires were all bald,
but off through the snow, we went with a squall.
Through 43 cities in two or three hours.
I n’ere dreamed the old car had that kind of power!
Through Boston and Billings, through Newark to home,
we gave it our best and we did it alone.
We returned to the cabin and as I gave a sneeze,
the car shook and rattled and died with a wheeze.
The tires all went flat. There was smoke from the hood.
I didn’t need a mechanic to know things were not good.
I was dead tired as we walked to the cabin.
My eyelids were drooping. My body was draggin’.
Santa fixed breakfast and tucked me in bed
and I slept half the day like a man who was dead.
When I work about noontime, Saint Nick was long gone.
The heater was heating. The cabin was warm.
I looked out the windows and saw marks of a sleigh.
I guessed that the reindeer had hauled him away.
My Chevrolet too, was not to be seen,
but parked in the yard, and painted dark green
was a slinky new Jaguar, convertible top.
I ran to the car, read the note on the top:
“This is in exchange for your old Chevrolet
which gave up the ghost while saving the day.
You gave it your all and you gave with a smile.
We’ll do it next year, but we’ll do it in style!