I wrote this for my grandchildren last year, but I can’t take complete credit for all of it. I borrowed some wording and thoughts from similar New Mexico interpretations of “The Night Before Christmas.” At any rate, it makes me realize how fortunate we are to live in a place that has so many multi-cultural traditions, especially around Christmas. Hope you enjoy this and Margo and I (and Chester) wish you a happy holiday season.
Twas the night before Christmas in Nuevo Mexico
And everywhere luminarias were starting to glow.
The stockings were hung by the horno with care
In hopes that Pancho Claus soon would be there,
Outside on the porch, ristras swayed in the breeze
And as the sun dipped down, it was starting to freeze
Los ninos were dreaming, all warm in their beds
And swung at pinatas that danced in their heads
Mamma and Chester (our dog) were snoozing away
In a bed that left me no room to lay
So I sat in a chair watching the pinon fire die
When I heard a strange noise coming down from the sky.
I ran to the back door to look out on the lawn
Which was soft and white from a snowfall at dawn
We don’t get much snow in the desert, you see
So the view outside was exciting to me.
Then suddenly I spotted something that was even more to behold
It was pack of coyotes with a wooden cart in tow
In front of the coyotes with a beak that was red
Was Rudy the roadrunner, who was always ahead.
And driving the cart was a fat jolly man
Wearing a sombrero and a waving his hand
It was Pancho Clause, of that I was sure
And he called to his coyotes as they ran in a blur.
“Now Pedro, now Carlos, Jose and Miguel,
On Cisco, Jesus, Juan and Manuel
Over the mesquite bush, don’t linger and stall
Through cactus and sand dunes, now dash away all.”
So up on my casa the coyotes flew
With a cart full of toys and Pancho Claus too
And a noise from above gave me a start
Coyotes howling as he stepped off his cart
He slid down the chimney with his bag full of toys
And began his work without any noise.
He wore a pony tail at the back of his head
And his velvet Navajo shirt was a cheery red.
His shirt was laced up with fine goatskin leather
And his face was rugged from the Southwestern weather
His eyes were like turquoise, his dimples so sweet
His nose and his cheeks were like red chile heat.
The steam from from a pot of posole in la cocina
Formed a shape over his head that looked like a Zia
He was a true Land of Enchantment elf
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.
But seeing his smile, I knew I had nothing to dread
Knowing that soon I would be back in my bed
He said “Ya-ta-hey” to me as he started to work
Filling up the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
He’d noticed biscochitos we’d left him for a snack
And stuffed a few of them for later in his pack
Then before I could blink, back up the chimney he went
Leaving only the smell of a sweet pinon scent,
He sprang into his cart, gave his coyotes a shout
And was gone just like that, to the next hacienda, no doubt
But I heard him call as his cart flew away
“Feliz Navidad, In New Mexico we say.”