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Yuletide Cheer

This time of the year I’m betting there’s a good number of you who break out the Jimmy Buffett CD, Christmas Island. It’s a collection of traditional Christmas songs done with Buffett’s decided tropical flair, plus a few of his own seasonal songs. In case you didn’t know, Buffett was born on Christmas day, so it’s no surprise he’d produce an album to commemorate the event and give it such a clever name, conjuring up images of some is – land in a perpetual state of Yuletide cheer. If only there was such a place. Well, there is…. sort of.
The year was 1643 when the British East India Company vessel Royal Mary, under the command of Captain William Mynors, was sailing northwest of Australia. On Dec. 25, Mynors came across a previously unknown island, which he decided to name Christmas Island. But it wasn’t until 1688 that any Europeans actually set foot on the island and the first complete exploration of the island didn’t occur until 1857.
Due to it’s extremely diverse collection of flora and fauna, and because the island remained untouched for such a relatively long period, Christmas Island is often referred to as a second Galapagos. Probably the most interesting natural occurrence on Christmas Island is the annual red crab mass migration. Each November, after the start of the wet season and synchronized with the moon cycle, up to 100 million animals come out of their burrows and head for the sea to lay their eggs. The event has been called one of the wonders of the natural world. During the migration, the crabs cover the highway routes to the coast so densely that some roads have to be closed and the crabs can be seen from the air. During the peak of the migration volunteers will install roadside barriers and actually shovel the crabs off the roads.

But now…

Christmas Island by Jimmy Buffett
Let’s get away from sleigh bells, let’s get away from snow
Let’s make a break some Christmas, Dear, I know the place to go.
How’d ya’ like to spend Christmas… on Christmas Is…land?

How’d ya’ like to spend the holiday away across the sea?How’d ya’ like to spend Christmas… on Christmas Is…land? How’d ya’ like to hang a stocking on a great big coconut tree?
How’d ya’ like to stay up late, like the islanders do? Wait for Santa, to sail in with your presents, in a canoe?! If you ever spend Christmas, on Christmas Island,you will never stray for everydayYour Christmas dreams come true.
If you ever spend Christmas, on Christmas Island, you will never stray, for everyday Your Christmas dreams come true. On Christmas Is…land… your dreams… come true.

And just to bring it all home, a little nautical Christmas ditty that’s always been a favorite of mine. The Following, by Michael H. Benton, a man of many talents, bourne of St. Simons Island, Georgia.

T’was the tide before Christmas, and all along the bay, not a creature was swimming, not even a ray. The shrimp boats were all moored pier side with care,in hopes that large fish school soon would be there.
The sand crabs were nestled all snug in the dunes, and dreamed of beach combing, eluding the loons.And you in your waders and I wrapped in a mat, headed home from beach walking, ’twas too cold for no hat.
When just then the sea arose in a lather, I tripped over my feet, only able to blather. Away to the dunes we flew with a crash, and looked at the water alive with a splash!
The moon on the spray up from the boil, gave a strange glow to all of this tumulous toil.When, to our amazement should appear,an odd clam-sleigh – with shrimp for reindeer!
Yes, he was there, but not like you’d expect. Ol’ nick was in shorts, from vacation I suspect. Faster than dolphin his champions did ply, singling their names, it seemed they would fly!
“On Flounder! Now Crabby! On Pincher and Whaley! On, Conch Shell, Now Coral, on Sailfish and Eelie! To the top of a swells to the top of a waves, now swim away! Swim away, Swim away brave!”
As foam on the waves in whirlwind takes flight,or tide bends and rips and you angle just right.So up to the wave crest the champions then swam, with Saint Nick and the toys, and his sleigh made of clam.
And then just so softly, we heard on the sand, the clicking and snapping of shrimp on the land. As we hid in the dunes and pulled ourselves low, next to our side, we saw… St Nicholas start to glow!
Now, not dressed like you’d think, from his head to his foot, beach-ish were his clothes, at least there was no soot.The toys were all dry and kept safely from harm,He looked like a Bleached Savior, so full of charm.
His face was quite tan and blown was his hair, his sandals were all worn from years of wear. His mouth had a smile only beachcombers know, and his tan made his beard whiter than snow.
A stir-straw he chewed, the type from a drink, with salt on his chin from a margarita, I think.I knew when he smiled he truly was real,and his belly shook some as he turned on his heel.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly ol’ salt, but somehow seemed light and saintly, with nary a fault. And then he did wink and, widened his smile,as if just to say, the nights tasks are worthwhile.
For a while we followed behind as he went to each home, next to the beach from where we did roam. Some magic he used to enter each one, checking his list until he was done
Then back to the clam, that carried him fast, and away the shrimp pulled and huffed in a blast! We heard him exclaim as he sailed out of sight… “Merry Christmas to all, and to all… a good-night!”