The Washington Times-Herald

Local News

December 17, 2013

'Twas the campout before Christmas

(With apologies to Clement C. Moore)

‘Twas the camp-out before Christmas, and all through the Troop and Pack, all the parents were sleeping, each one in their sack. The wet socks were hung up with care on a half-hitch taut line, in hopes they would be dry come hike time.

The boys were all snuggled in cold weather mummies, with too many s’mores stuffed down in their tummies. So with the Assistant Scoutmaster on his air mattress and I on my cot, we had just settled down – without pillows; we forgot.

When outside my tent there arose such a noise, I sprang from my cot thinking, Oh, those boys! So I grabbed my flashlight with the non-slip grip, and fumbled with my tent-flap so hard to unzip.

The moon shone through the treetops so vibrant and bright, I could see like the daytime even though it was night. And what to my red, weary eyes should appear, but a red and green sleigh and a band of harnessed reindeer.

A little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick. Much faster than Eagles, his team of deer came; he held up three fingers and called them by name.

“On, Scout! Tenderfoot, Second and First! Now Star and Life, Eagle’s the best! On Patrol! On Senior! On Scoutmaster…Go! To the top of the tents, to the dining fly yon, now hurry up, hurry up, hurry up. Go on!”

As lightning bugs flash and light like a fairy on a soft summer breeze that moves across the prairie, so up to the fire ring the reindeer did glide, with a sleigh full of camp gadgets and St. Nicholas inside.

Then in a twinkling I heard them all munch, on all of those carrots left over from lunch. As I turned on my flashlight and tried to turn round, I tripped over a tent peg and fell to the ground. And there stood St. Nick – he was dressed all in khaki, with his red wool patch jacket that looked kind of wacky. A bundle of goodies he had flung on his back, he looked like a Merit Badge Counselor just opening his pack.

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