Based on a true story from around 1905 on the Ohio and Erie Canal.


A Canal Boat Christmas
© 2016 by Russ Franzen

We were riding on the old canal.
The hold was filled with coal
The leaves had long been off the trees. The December winds were cold.
Near Canal Dover, the skies were dark, At the dock the boat turned in
But when morning came we saw
Our boat was all iced in.

chorus: Our canal boat stuck at Christmas,
Where the ice won't let us leave.
But Santy knows just where we are,
And he'll be here Christmas Eve.

Christmas Eve dawned cold as ice.
The snow was on the ground.
Seven families stranded in their boats. The cook stoves kept us warm.
After supper, Pop went out to tend the mules in the barn,
And I wished that I was warm and cozy at my Granny's in Bolivar.

We were playing cards in the aft cabin.
I was sitting on the bottom step.
When we heard some clatter topside
Up on the Tiller deck.
Then the hatch above me opened
And I looked above and saw
A bearded man in a bright red suit.
It was good ol' Santy Claus!

He dropped down candy and some nuts, Then hollered “Ho, Ho, Ho!”
Then he touched his finger to his nose and turned around to go.
We thought he'd take the catwalk.
But he dropped down on the gunwale.
As he walked along the side of the boat he slipped and fell in the canal.

We flew topside and Santy
Was splashin' in the old canal.
The hat and beard sat on the ice
And we saw it was the neighbor gal.
The adults came running and fished her out. She was soaked from skin to coat.
My Mom brought her a blanket
And she sloshed back to her boat.

I'll ne'er forget that Christmas.
What I story I can tell
Of Christmas Eve stuck on our boat
And Santy fallin' in the old canal.