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'Twas the Night Before Christmas

Thanksgiving is over. Mr. T. Thomas Turkey can come on out of hiding. He's safe for another year around our part of the world because we don't do the big Christmas dinner at our house. We do have a couple of traditions on Thanksgiving. We like for Husband/Mr. B/Daddy/Poppa to get out the guitar and everyone who wants to, whether they can carry a tune or not, sings. The rest of us two step up and down the hallway.

And then all of the titles above reads us his special Christmas poem, Jake's Night Before Christmas. To formally kick off the Christmas season I thought I'd share it with you this weekend. He wrote it years ago for our kids when they were small but no matter the age, the whole family loves it. So without further ado here is the Brown Christmas poem.
by Charles Brown

“Twas the night before Christmas,
And all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring
“Cept a flea and a louse!
The family were all sleeping
In rooms overhead
While Father snored loud ‘nough
To wake up the dead,
And Mother lay sleeping,
A smile on her face,
In sweet dreams of diamonds
And satin and lace.
The children were all stacked
In their beds like sardines—
‘Cause this wasn’t exactly
A “family of means,”
And three double beds were
All they could afford
To accommodate company
And their own mongrel horde—
There was Sandy and Sally
And Rhonda and Sue,
There was Betty and Billy
And Otis and Blue,
(Now you may think that Blue’s
A strange name for a kid,
But it fit that line better
Than Bosephus did!)
And four or five others
Whose names I’ve forgot,
(And so have their parents
As likely as not!
But they had heard somewhere
Kids came cheaper in dozens),
And there were also and uncle,
An aunt and a handful of cousins.
An old hound was sleeping
Downstairs by the fire
With his old tail just inches
From a bare Christmas tree wire.
That old mutt would snore
And then he’d roll over
(Now I’d use his name here
If his name had been Rover,
But not all dogs are named that!
For great pity’s sake!
As a matter of fact,
This dog’s name was Jake!)
Now Jake, as I said
Just before I digressed,
Was in front of the fire
And was taking his rest,

And the flea on the dog
And the louse on the chair
Were both watching that tail
And that wire that was bare.
Now the flea and the dog
Had been friends a long time
(To have a flea for a friend
Is really no crime),

But the louse was a stranger,
I must here confess,
Brought home on the head
Of a kid, I should guess.
Well, old Jake would snarl
And his old legs would quiver
As in dreams he ran rabbits
Through fields by the river.
Then he’d pick up his tail
And he’d wave it around—
Like a frayed flag of victory—

Then drop it back down,
And the flea and the louse, well,
They wouldn’t breath, no sir!
‘Cause each time that tail
Got a little bit closer!
“Guess I’d better get down,”
Said the flea with a lisp,
“Or I might just by chance
Get myself burned to a crisp.
I suppose I could wake him
With a good solid bite?”
“Let him be,” said the louse,
“Its been a dull night.”
And the two, being vermin,
And “birds of a feather,”
Sat down to await
What would happen together.
And for most of the night
Old Jake got along fine.
Though he moved his tail often
He missed that wire every time.
He would wave it around
And then bring it to rest
And miss that there bare wire
A half inch at the best!
Now the flea really thought
He should help his old friend
 And was just about ready
To suggest it again
When the louse said, “You know,
Flea, I’m really quite bored.”
And old Jack laid his tail
Right smack down on that cord!
And yet “right smack down” is not
What I really should say
‘Cause he had his tail humped
In an odd sort of way
That left some tail on one side
And some on the other,
And those bugs held their breath
‘Til they thought they would smother!
“I thought he had done it,”
Said the louse with a pant.
“If he gets out of this one,
I’ll swear I’m and ant.”
Then Jake made a noise
Like a wheeze and a snore
And dropped his tail down
On that wire on the floor.
Then lights started flashin’
And sparks started flyin’,
And Jake didn’t know
If he was livin’ or dyin’!
He jerked is old head
Right straight up off the floor
With a look on his face
That hadn’t been there before,
And his ears stood straight up
And then started to wilt,
And his eyes spun around
And began to flash, “TILT”!
“Golly gee!” said the flea,
“Do you think he’s all right?
That look on his face
Is a horrible sight!”
And then with a noise
Like a growl and a roar,
Jake shot like a cannonball
‘Cross the living room floor.
He slid ‘round a corner
And shot down the hall
Rollin’ a throw rug
Up into a ball,
Went into the kitchen
In a long sidelin’ slide
That he just couldn’t stop
No matter how hard he tried;
Banged into a chair leg,
A whinin’ and scratchin’,
Diggin’ plumb through the floor tile
Before he got traction;
Then shot through the archway
And back down the hall,
‘Crossed the living room floor
And SMACK into the wall.

Now needless to say
That arrested his motion,
And some time elapsed
Ere he had even a notion
Of just where he was
And where he had been…
And what he should do next…
And where to begin.
He’d been asleep by the fire
The last he could remember,
Basking himself  in
The warmth of its ember,
And from the pain in his tail
He guessed some varmint had bit it!
It would be just TOO bad
When he caught whoever did it!
But a search of the room
Turned up no one at all!
So he crept through the kitchen,
And he slunk down the hall.
 He peeked under the table
And looked up the stair
And behind the sofa—
But there weren’t no one THERE!
Then Jakes anger faded
And he got kinda confused,
And licked his poor tail
And felt gen’rally abused.
“Well, Flea, the show’s over,”
Said the louse with a sneer.
“There’s never excitement
For long around here.”
But the flea was so glad
His friend had not come to grief
That he gave a wee small
Flea-sigh of relief.
The way old Jake’s head hung
 Made him want to WEEP,
And Jake sadly decided
He’d best go back to sleep
But just as he got back
To the place where he’d been,
His left hind-foot stepped
On that there bare wire AGIN!
Well…what happened next
Really beggars description,
And I don’t really feel I could
Give you an acc’rate depiction.
To list all the details
Would take too much time.
(And to tell you the truth
I’m might near out of rhyme).
Suffice it to say that Jake
Caused such a clatter
The folks came down the stairs
To see what was the matter,
And bless’em but they were
Astonished to find
That their faithful old hound
Had just clean lost his mind—
A snappin’ and snarlin’
And growlin’ pure hate,
His eyes flashin’ sparks
Like the logs in the grate!
He had torn up the pillows
That Grandma had made,
And scattered the toys
Where the children had played;
And wreaked great destruction
Throughout the whole house
(Just barely missed killin’
His friend Flea and the louse!)
But before he could tear up
Another thing more,
A quick-minded youngster
Threw open the door,
And Jake roared right past him
Out into the snow,
And the child stood there gapin’
And watched that dog go.
When asked what had happened,
Jake didn’t reply;
He just kept a yowlin’
And shot right on by.
‘Cause he hadn’t the time
To make leavin’ polite
Or to say “Merry Christmas!”
Or even “Good Night!”

From the Brown household, we wish all of you a very
Merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday season. I won't be posting in December so Santa is making an early visit to TWO folks who leave a comment on this site by next Monday evening. Instead of the red boot, I'm going to ask Santa Claus draw two names from his big bag...and I'll give a signed copy of The Cowboy's Christmas Baby to each person. All you have to do is comment to get your name in the boot! Tell me what's your favorite Christmas book or your favorite Christmas story or tell me if you felt just a little bit sorry for poor old Jake. 


  1. Love it! Thanks for the story, Carolyn.

  2. Thank you Shana! Our kids and grandkids love it.

  3. I keep wondering how that pecan pie turned out this year, Cheryl.

  4. I love your books, Carolyn.

    Your cowboy Christmas books are among my favs as well as Robyn Carr's Virgin River Christmas. There are so many good ones out there.

  5. Great post Carolyn :)

    A wallflower Christmas and a present are my fav Christmas book

  6. THANK YOU Pat L. I'm so glad that my books are among your favorites.

    Eli: Glad you liked the poetry! LOL! The two books you mentioned are great Christmas stories.

  7. That's cute, Carolyn! My dad wrote poetry and we reminded him to keep his day job. :)

  8. Thank you Terry...for the most part Mr. B's poetry is way too controversial for publication...LOL!!

  9. Love all of Papa Charles' controversial poetry. Always made me laugh !

  10. Merry Christmas Carolyn! My favorite show at Christmas is A Christmas Story. I have watch it every year! My favorite part is when the neighbors dogs break in and still the turkey. Kinda made me thinks of jake! Of course my favorite song is jingle bells.

  11. Susan, thanks for stopping by...remember how Grandma Nema used to laugh so hard when Poppa Charles read that poem!

  12. Kim, poor old Jake had a time of it that Christmas Eve for sure. Our kids love for Poppa to read it (or recite it now that he's read the thing for almost 40 years)!

  13. I think I had heard that poem once before but it was well worth repeating lol. I read The Littlest Angel to my girls (now grown) every year and I end up sobbing every time!

  14. catslady: You may have. When I was doing a blog on my website, I probably posted it but it's such a favorite that I just had to post it one more time before I retire it to the history books!

  15. A Christmas Carol

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  16. This. Was. Awesome. I shared could I not?

  17. My favorite Christmas story is a true one. I prayed for God to bring my cat back for the holiday and she was found outside the church after midnight Mass.

  18. That was wonderful!!! Thank you.

  19. That was wonderful!!! Thank you.

  20. Sara: Thank you!

    Mary: Proof that miracles do still happen.

    Susanna: So glad that you enjoyed it!

  21. I loved that, Carolyn! It must be great fun to be around your homestead for the holidays.

  22. And the winners of the contest are Susanna Ives and catslady...if you will send me your snail mail addresses I will put your books in the mail tomorrow morning!

  23. I love your books Carolyn; please keep writing them.


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