Bowing to readers' requests, I'm reprinting "A Visit from Captain Gus":
'Twas the night before fishing, and all through the lake,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a snake;
The poles were stuck in rod holders with care,
Never miss a local story.
In hopes that a big fish would soon be there.
The kids were nestled all snug in the vessel,
While dreaming of fishes they soon would wrestle.
And Mamma in her winter duds and I in my fishing hat,
Had just settled down on our watery mat,
When out on the lake there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my feet to see what was the matter.
The moon on the breast of the water below
Gave a luster of silver and made everything glow,
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a boat pulled by eight tiny fish (or reindeer?),
With a tall old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be a trick.
More rapid than bonefish his coursers they came,
And he tooted and shouted, and called them by name;
"Now, Bass! Now, Trout! Now, Bream, Flathead, too!
"On, Striper! On Perch! On Crappie and Blue!
"To the top of the dam! To the head of the falls!
"Now swim away! Swim away! Swim away all!"
As waves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So up to our vessel the coursers they flew,
With a boatload of fish and Captain Gus, too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard with a swish
The flipping and flopping of each little fish.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the mast came Captain Gus with a bound.
He was dressed in red Gore-Tex, from head to toe,
And his clothes were smelly from scales and minnows.
His eyes, they looked fishy! His dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like redfish, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was bowed like a rod,
And the beard on his chin was as white as a cod (fish).
He wasn't chubby and plump, just a tall old elf,
That made me laugh when I saw him, in spite of myself.
A fishing rod in hand and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stringers; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the mast he rose;
He jumped in his boat, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all swam with the speed of a missile.
But I heard him exclaim ere he drove out of sight,
"Merry FishMas to all, and to all a good night!"