Twas the week before… (part 1)

‘Twas the week before Christmas and in Cotonou

All the Embassy bustled with projects to do.

The stockings were hung on whatever would hold ‘

Cause we needed no chimney to fight off the cold.

So running around in the 90 F heat

The presents were wrapped and the ribbons tied neat

The Snowman and Santa inflated by air

Became the main subject of many a stare

The Thanksgiving turkeys stored two months ago

Were pulled from the deep freeze (at least they get snow!)

The garland was hung and the tree dressed with light

If you cranked up the A/C it almost felt right

Bake cookies, bake pastries, bake pound cake, we’d try it

As we said to ourselves, “After New Year’s I’ll diet.”

When fin’ly the eve of the Yule came a calling

The air wasn’t crisp, and no snow was a falling

The children are still too excited to sleep

But close their eyes tight, and they sound not a peep

The cookies and milk that they’ve put by the tree

Are the same as were left years ago, ‘cross the sea

A final Skype home (minus six hours, right?)

And then we settled in for the warm winter’s night.

When out in the yard there arose such a din

That I figured the gen’rator must have kicked in

But instead of the roar of a diesel perturbing

Our sleep, there arose a strange sound quite disturbing

I sprung from the bed and bounced off of the net

For mosquitoes, then crawled underneath so I’d get

To the window, to see what was causing the clatter

Tripped over the transformer, “Hope that won’t matter.”

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But Saint Nick’s ruby sleigh, and his team of reindeer.

“Must have banged my head more than I thought,” I surmised

So I blinked and I shook it, but to my surprise

There he was, and I spied, as I stood there amazed

Rudolph’s nose shining bright through the harmatan haze

(more to come)


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