Lin Ottinger

I was in my cave far from town.

No one else lived for miles around.

It was my home for I had no house.

I shared with a squirrel, a bat and a mouse.

It was the night before Christmas,

The snow was coming down.

The fire was burning low so we all bedded down.

I fell asleep for how long I don’t know.

The fire was an ember with a very faint glow.

When I awoke with a crash, a clang and a clatter

I ran outside to see what was the matter

The snow had stopped falling,

The moon full and bright,

And there in a tree was a horrible sight!

Boxes and packages lay all over the ground

And old Saint Nick was just climbing down.

There by the tree lay a broken sleigh

And reindeer scampering every which way.

“Christmas is over, it’s a thing of the past” he sighed

“Look at my sleigh, all broken on it’s side,

All because of my silly old pride.

My old eyes ain’t what they used to be,

I didn’t even see that big old tree.

I didn’t wear my glasses because of my pride,

I just flew a little closer to the ground -

I thought I could find my way around.”

I didn’t wear mine, but I don’t know why,

That’s how they got broke, but just in one eye.

“Here; put them on, it’s worth a try.”

He took my glasses with one broken eye.

“Oh well” he said, “I guess I could try.”

He held them for a moment, as though saying grace,

Then he slowly put them on his glowing face.

He yelled so loud I’ll bet they heard him in town.

“I can see the stars for miles around!

I couldn’t see better if they were made for me.

Look at the toys high in that tree.

There’s still no hope even though I can see,

With my sleigh all broken and toys in the tree.”

“I have some wire in my cave and a nail or two

And I know where there is an old wood screw.”

We hammered and twisted for a minute or two.

He said “It’s all fixed, good as new!”

We tugged and we pulled but we couldn’t tip the sleigh.

We weren’t strong enough, there was just no way.

We heard a big snort and standing right there

Was a great big mean old grizzly bear!

He ran straight at us, our blood ran cold

But he passed us right by and the sleigh he grabbed hold.

He pulled and he snorted, and we gave a big tug.

The sleigh turned up with a great big thud.

He said “There’s no use, with the snow on the ground

Most presents are lost, they will never be found.”

Then a squirrel showed up, and a porcupine too;

A fox, a badger, and an old wart hog;

A rabbit, a skunk and a big raccoon;

A coyote family with half a dozen pups;

An eagle, a duck, and ravens in threes.

Then a great horned owl landed in the tree.

The toys they started bringing to Santa and me.

We stacked and we packed and we bagged some too.

They scratched and they rooted and dug some more.

Presents and toys showed up by the score.

It took only a few minutes, it couldn’t have been more

When Old Saint Nick had his things all stored.

With a great big grin he jumped in his sleigh

These last words I heard him say,

As off in the sky he went in his sleigh:

“Thank you all very much but I just can’t stay,

For every kid must be happy on Christmas day.

Though my pride is all gone, Christmas will stay!”

I went to my cave with all of my friends.

We built a big fire to warm our hands.

We sang and we danced 'til the fire burned low,

Then one by one they started to go;

The fox, the badger, the old wart hog.

They went home to their hole or old hollow log.

The last to go was the old grizzly bear.

He got so close to the fire he almost burned his hair!

I slept real sound 'til the sun was high.

I went outside to look at the sky.

I looked at the tracks all around that tree.

Without my glasses, one present I could see

Still hanging on a branch about as high as me.

I went out to get it with a tear in my eye,

For I felt real sorry for some poor little guy.

I opened it up, but to my surprise

It was a new pair of glasses that fit my eyes.

Now proudly I wear them, even in town.

I will never take them off,

I will never lay them down.

Lin Ottinger, owner of Moab Rock Shop, wrote the poem to his grandson Wes Guymon in November 1988.