Longtime readers of the site will remember this from last year — you remember, the season we filled on December 10th and skated a full two weeks before Christmas? This year, as I sit here and type this, it’s 39 degrees and raining in Southern New Hampshire. Forecast for tomorrow is 50 degrees with a low of 30.
To that end, those of us in this balmy weather pattern need a Christmas miracle more than ever, and so I’m trotting out this play on The Night Before Christmas as a plea to anyone listening: Mother Nature, your deity of choice, or maybe even old Saint Nick. If you’re staring at your rink and praying for cold, I’m with you. But have a read, pass this around, and who knows…maybe there’ll be a Christmas skate after all.
‘Twas The Skate Before Christmas
‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the yard;
Not a creature was skating, the ice wasn’t hard.
A warm front had come shortly after dad filled;
And temps north of freezing left the water unchilled.
Our skates they sat dormant, our sticks in a pile;
Our jerseys on hangers, unused for a while.
So we shuffled to bed, quite excited for Christmas;
But a bit disappointed rink season had missed us.
As I lay in my bed, I turned and I tossed;
Our rink was a puddle, the winter was lost.
I’d pleaded with them, the rink gods hadn’t listened;
I drifted to sleep as the rink water glistened.
Then sometime that night I awoke to a SOUND;
I shot up in bed, rubbed my eyes, looked around.
It sounded like skate strides, one after another;
I turned to the window and threw off the covers.
My breath fogged the glass and I struggled to see;
Was there ice in our backyard? Could it really be?
I saw skate marks and pucks and the net had been moved;
There WAS ice out there, it looked perfectly smooth.
I tiptoed to the hall and woke sister and brother;
We crept down the stairs not to wake dad and mother.
Slung our skates over sticks so that we’d be prepared;
We opened the back door, we stopped, and we stared.
There was a lone figure on our backyard ice;
His stickhandling was perfect, his wrist shots precise.
On his head was a white ball, atop a red hat;
A white beard draped over a red coat so fat.
He was flanked ’round the rink, by a small crowd of nine;
With four on each side, and one behind the twine.
He saw us and motioned for us to come play;
We ran through the backyard, with zero delay.
We laced up our skates, just as fast as we could;
Grabbing gloves and our sticks, the three of us stood.
He motioned for us to put sticks in a pile;
As my sister chose teams, the man turned with a smile.
“I’ve read all your wish lists, I’ve looked at them twice;
You’re the first child to ever ask Santa for ice.
But I know how important this rink is to you;
And your father, he asked me for cold weather too.”
So we picked up our sticks, me and Claus on a team;
The rink lights stayed off, the ice shone in moonbeam.
And we skated and passed and we laughed and we scored;
Rudolph’s nose glowed bright red, another goal on the board.
For what seemed like hours, we played on our rink;
Though we weren’t cold or tired, our cheeks rosy pink.
We played shinny with Santa, you wouldn’t believe;
What had transpired that unseasonably warm Christmas Eve.
After dozens of goals had been scored in the net;
And the ice was chewed up and our shirts soaking wet.
We glided to the boards, sat in piles of snow;
And Santa said “Children, it’s time I must go.”
So we took off our skates and replaced them with boots;
The big man stood up, wiping snow off his suit.
We said our goodbyes, waving to the reindeer;
And Santa said, “Hey kids – same time next year?”
Back up to our bedrooms, the three of us shuffled;
Tiptoed up the stairs, our laughter we muffled.
We went to the window, but Santa was gone;
And all that was left was an unfrozen pond.
Christmas morning began the same way as most others;
Toys and games were from Santa, underwear was from mother.
Dad glanced in the backyard, and cursed the warm weather;
I said “Thanks for the rink, you’re the best father EVER.”
My sis pulled the last gift from under the tree;
Three names on the tag: brother, sister, and me.
Inside was a puck, and inscribed left to right:
“HAPPY SKATING TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT!”