No Gift From the Magi


T’was the night before Christmas and Lucille was mad,

She hollered at William and grouched at poor Tad;

George tucked his tail and slunk into the dark,

Midnight took notice and didn’t dare bark.


The grandbabies hid under G-mama’s bed

And sugarplums never even entered their heads.

Ricky scrammed out through the door with a shout:

“She’s gone on the warpath, you’d better watch out!”


The moon on the breast of the newfallen snow

Put a frightening glare on the ruckus below;

Sweet Lucy was hoppin’, and all through the house

The whole gang was hiding. Even the mouse.


So what, you may wonder, could set her off thus,

This gal so serene, ne’er yet known to fuss;

Some godawful reason there just had to be:

The answer, my friend, lay under the tree.


It stood all a’glitter, in the front room of course,

With gifts all piled under, and there lay the source

Of poor Lucy’s torment: she needed a pill,

‘Cause each time she looked she grew ever more ill.


Gaily wrapped gifts were all piled in a jumble,

Looking like Santa Clause gave them a tumble.

There were big gifts for Donna, for Ricky and Tad,

A fat one for Larry and a long one for Dad.


A gold gift for Beverly, Betty’s was red,

The grandchildren’s gifts were piled high as your head.

They were all signed “G-mama;” but how did she feel?

In all of that pile was not one for Lucille…


The storm reached its climax, the winds howled and raged,

The foundations shook like the devil was paged.

But the tempest subsided, a stillness drew near;

Poor Lucy sat down then, and shed a small tear…


*          *          *


What’s this at the corner? A jolly old elf!

I can tell by his twinkle, it’s Willie himself!

And there right behind him they’re gathered a’stir,

And every last one of them’s grinning at her.


“Up out of your chair, Ma!” They whooshed her about,

They all were so jolly she plumb forgot to pout.

“What’s hid on this shelf, Mom?”  They forced her to see:

“Well, golly, gee, no … not a present for me?!”


And thus was Lucille’s treasure hunt set in motion;

Such endless delights, and she hadn’t a notion;

There were gifts for Lucille behind every chair,

There was one in the cupboard, who’d ever look there?


There were gifts in the closet, behind the commode;

There was even one hidden out front by the road.

There were three in the garage (they were really quite big),

There was one on the woodpile and two on the rig.


Seldom again will Johnson Road see

Such a glad celebrating round the old Christmas tree.

She broke out some likker, they ate up the fowl,

And Midnight got happy and George lent a howl.


Though years pass, the children will never forget

How she’d found all her presents but still wouldn’t quit.

And I heard a glad chorus, as I drove out of sight,

“We love you, G-mama—Merry Christmas, Good Night!”



December 1980

to Lucille and Willie

and Larry and Donna and Ricky and

all the spouses and grandbabies

from Donal O’Coffey


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