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A Christmas Poem for 2023

by John Williams

It’s the night before Christmas and I’m trying to decide;
Would I jump right in if Santa offered me a ride?
An open-aired trip across this great country of ours,
Passing out presents, taking in the stars.

A trip over SoCal, shouting hellos,
As we pass over some of our favorite Frog Fellows!
On Dasher, on Dancer — Scottsdale’s in sight,
So many friends down there enjoying Merlot tonight.

Hello Santa Fe, hello Denver, hello Salt Lake City,
Oops—we took a wrong turn while passing Albuquerque!
We fly over Wichita, dipping down in our sleigh,
We have loads of friends there who need more Cabernet!

On to Texas—gosh, so many many buddies down there,
Always asking if we have more wine to share.
Dallas, Houston, Austin, San Antone,
There’s my old friend, Kit — hey Kit, pick up the phone!

On to New Orleans with memories so dear,
I like this city so much I got married here!
Hey Prancer, hey Vixen — pick up the pace,
So much fun had in Florida there’s a mugshot with my face!

Up the East Coast we go, with Carnac in my mirror,
In Georgia and the Carolinas I’ve shared many a beer.
Virginia, DC, Philly — with a quick nod to Todd,
That DRC you shared was a gift from the Gods!

The bright lights of New York City dim even Rudolph’s nose,
It’s Christmas Eve, but these restaurants don’t close!
How many memories flood me as Santa chucks out the gifts,
I grew up in this State, so often stuck in snow drifts.

But then on to New England, St. Nick to his task,
Could we not pause in Boston — is it too much to ask?
Ask Chef Bruce to whip up a quick bite to eat,
And invite some friends over, old stories to repeat.

But no, we press on — is that Clymer I see?
Fifty years of life in Napa haven’t really changed me,
Just as all great wines are born of a place
So where we grow up years do not erase.

Onward we go — hey Chicago how are you?
Oops, sorry—no time, Twin Cities in view,
Comet & Cupid want to take a deep dive,
But Santa reminds them that down there it’s minus five!

So as on we go, nostalgia floods over me,
Being in the wine business has given me a chance to see,
That this great Country of ours — different in so many ways,
Can also be United — with purpose displayed.

Reasonable people can agree to disagree,
And yet still come together when there is a need.
Just as Donner and Blitzen pull this sleigh as one,
Can we not join hands, differences overcome?

To face the real challenges that arrive every day,
And to our children and grandchildren be able to say,
We tried our best, and to our values held true,
We celebrate the true meaning of red, white & blue.

Seattle, Portland and Napa come into view,
I’m now so near to home — I know what to do!
To awake as the new day and New Year does arrive,
To better myself—to really strive.

So, thanks to  you Santa but I’ll not get in your sleigh,
I have five grandchildren and one more on the way!
I simply can’t  join as you race sea-to-sea,
But I will double down on what I believe.

Friends, family, faith, purpose — I can clearly now see 
Are the greatest gifts to be found, and not under the tree,
So with family I’ll gather and we’ll all raise a glass,
To all of you and your families — may this warmth and joy last!

I hope you’ll gather together and cheer a great cheer,
The best for the Holidays,
And a wonderful New Year!