The Oil Field Night Before Christmas by Bill Rodgers
‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the patch,
Not a roughneck was stirring, not even to scratch.
The drill pipe was stacked by the derrick with care,
In hopes a new drill bit soon would be there.
It had all gone so well for the first thousand feet,
And it looked like the schedule might even be beat.
But all came to a stop when we hit solid rock.
We had run out of luck, no more drill bits in stock.
The crew in the bunkhouse bedded down for the night.
No engines were running, not since sunset’s last light.
So with nothing to do but wait in the shack,
I pulled out a cot and had just hit the sack.
When from out on the lot there came such a racket,
I jumped out of bed and threw on my old jacket.
I tripped and I slipped as I ran ‘cross the floor,
Till I reached the far side and yanked open the door.
The moon on the mud pit spread light all about,
Like the high voltage spotlights had not been turned out.
When, from out of nowhere, there appeared in the glow
A small diesel rig with a flatbed in tow.
It circled the sky, leaving contrails and stripes,
As bright colored smoke billowed out of its pipes.
Then it swooped to the ground, where it rolled to a stop,
As the hiss of the airbrakes made one final pop.
The driver’s door opened right in front of my eyes,
When out jumped a man of diminutive size.
His hair was all gray, and his beard even grayer,
His coveralls smudged with a 30-weight layer.
Could this be the mythical figure of lore?
The one spoken of by so many before?
His name, Hal E. Burton, by my best rationale,
But most folks just called him jolly Saint Hal.
He rared up and whistled, when out of the back
Tumbled eight little helpers, running ‘round in a pack.
Saint Hal gave a chuckle, as beside him they came,
Then he pointed and shouted and called them by name.
“Hey, Boomer! Hey, Lefty! Hey, Curly and Louie!
Yo, Scooter! Yo, Shifty! Yo, Swifty and Chuy!”
Half climbed on the flatbed, half stayed on the ground,
While they loosened the tie downs and chains all around.
The cargo was wrapped in a velvety tarp.
What was it, I wondered, my curiosity sharp.
They threw back the cover to proudly reveal
A magical drill bit of diamonds and steel.
All eight elfin helpers surrounded the gift,
Then hoisted it high in one unison lift.
Toward the platform they scrambled and fastened the bit
To the end of a drill pipe for a good, solid fit.
Saint Hal stepped right up as if leading a band,
With a wave of his arm and a twirl of his hand.
The equipment responded and sprang into action.
The turntable turned to his great satisfaction.
As the drill bit descended down into the hole,
It appeared that Saint Hal had accomplished his goal.
He looked all around, then did bellow and call,
“Now, frac away, frac away, frac away all!”
He sprang to his rig and his helpers pursued,
Leaving everyone hope for an abundance of crude.
Then I heard him exclaim, as they made their way out,
“Happy Christmas to all, and an early pay out!”
“Bill has been making me laugh for over twenty years!”
“Will tickle your funny bone. Damned clever!”
Jesse Sublett, Author, Musician, Austin Character
“Bill knows where the funny is!”
Shannon Sedwick, Esther’s Follies
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