By fifth-grade Bridge City Intermediate teacher Bridget Gunn Toohey

‘Twas the night before Christmas when all through Bridge City
Hurricane Ike had left the town all dirty and gritty.

The stockings were hung in the trailer with care,
Because everyone’s house was under flood repair.

The children were dozing all cozy in their beds,
While nightmares of storm surge played in their heads.

And Mama in her rubber boots, and I with my tools,
Were busy ripping out sheetrock and fetching snakes out of the pool.

When out by the debris pile the looters began to assemble,
The mere sight of them made my body start to tremble.

Away to the street corner I flew in a flash,
And yelled, “Hey everybody, stay out of my trash!”

The moon on the breast of the heap of marsh grass
Left a sharp reminder of the hurricane that had passed.

When what to my tired eyes should appear
But a FEMA sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.

With a little plump driver so jolly and slick
I knew in a flash it was good old St. Nick.

Faster than maximum sustained winds of 145 mph his coursers they came,
And he whooped and hollered and called them by name:

Now Allstate! Now Farmers! Now Nationwide and Liberty Mutual!
On State Farm! On AAA! To FEMA and all adjustors!
Now pay up! Now pay up! Now pay up to all!

And then in a twinkling Santa let out a deep sigh
For he noticed that the water mark on my house was 6 feet high!

And as he looked with disbelief all around,
He soon realized that I was lucky I hadn’t drowned.

He was covered all over in sheetrock dust,
And around his sleigh was a thick coat of rust.
A bundle of toys and Lone Star Cards he held in his hand,
For the destruction from the hurricane he could not understand.

His eyes were filled with compassion
And his clothes were a bit out of fashion.

His droll little mouth was curved in a smile,
For he was happy to see that I had gotten new ceramic tile!

He wasn’t much of a talker, he got busy on the job
And filled all the stockings, then turned toward the door knob.

When suddenly he tripped on the wet vac hose,
Then bouncing up fast, out the trailer door he goes.

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team he gave a yell,
“Let’s hurry up and get away from this musty smell!”

But I heard him exclaim as he flew out of sight,
“Merry Christmas to all,
I wish you no more hurricanes ever, y’all!”