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Christmas with Columbo (poem) - Part 1

I hope everyone has stayed well this year. It's been a pleasure to see all of you here in the Forum, and we all look forward to good times to come. Each year since 2001, we continue the site's holiday tradition with my little tribute poem, that I sent to Peter Falk. He sent such a great reply, and it is always fun to share this with you. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone -- Columbo fans are the greatest!

“Christmas with Columbo”

By Ted Kerin

’Twas the night before Christmas, and all through L.A.
Not a killer was creeping -- not even O.J.

I was just out of prison, and living alone
In a lousy apartment, with no TV or phone.

I had just settled down for some chili and beer,
Thinking Christmas was gonna be crummy this year.

When all of a sudden, from over the roof,
I heard a big bang, and a shout and a woof.

I ran to the door, and looked out through the snow,
To see if an airplane was flying too low.

When, what should appear to my wondering eye,
But a rusty Peugeot -- sailing down from the sky!

With a little old driver, so shabby and slow,
I thought for a moment, it's a flying hobo!

The Peugeot poured smoke from its hood and its tires.
It looked like the engine would burst into fires.

Then I looked a bit closer, and heard a weird sound –
Like the baying and barking of eight basset hounds.

And that's when I saw that the Peugeot was towed
By eight basset hounds, dropping poop in the snow.

The man and his dogs were enjoying the game,
And he chuckled and laughed as he yelled all their names:

"On, Dog!…and Dog!…and Dog!…and, Dog!
And Dog!…and Dog!…and Dog!…and Dog!"

The Peugeot's exhaust shot a flame and a flash,
Then the heap and its load hit my lawn, with a crash.

The driver crawled out, like a bear from a cave,
And he held up his hand, and he gave me a wave.

His droll little face was unwashed and unshaved --
He looked like an elf who was slightly depraved.

He wore an old raincoat, all greasy and smelly,
That hung like a rag, down his back and his belly.

His collar was frayed, his necktie was torn,
His suit was all baggy and wrinkled and worn.

A five o'clock shadow was wreathed 'round his face.
His shoes were a terrible, awful disgrace.

As I stared at this bum, from bottom to top,
I thought, "One thing's certain, he can't be a cop."

But he took out a badge and he showed it to me.
"I'm Lieutenant Columbo, L.A.P.D."

He muttered and mumbled, and scratched at his head,
Like a terrier searching for fleas in his bed.

He stared at my feet, which made me confused,
’Til he blurted out "What did you pay for your shoes?"

I was too stunned to answer, I didn't reply.
Then he looked at me funny, with one glassy eye.

He spoke not a word, but walked straight through my door,
Trailing ashes and eggshells and crud on my floor.

"I hope you don't mind, I know I'm a pest ,"
He said, as he gestured and scratched at his chest.

"I'm terribly sorry to bother this way,
I need something to eat, I've had such a long day."

He spotted the chili, right there on my table,
And went for it, fast as his bow-legs were able.

He sniffed, as he stuck his nose down in my chili.
He looked like his dog, and I laughed myself silly.

"Say, this is terrific!" he said with a grin,
Then he opened his mouth and he shoveled it in.

"Have you got some ketchup and crackers?" he asked.
I gave him some, then he returned to his task.

Then, laying a finger aside of his ear,
He let out a belch, and he drank all my beer.

"Do you mind if I smoke?" he said with delight,
And before I could answer, he said, "Got a light?"

I gave him a match, and he lit a cigar.
It smelled like a sock that was dipped in old tar.

He huffed and he puffed, and he billowed with smoke.
I started to cough, then I started to choke.

His face filled with bliss, and he started to roam.
He said, "My wife won't let me smoke these at home."

Then he went for the door, and he said "Thank you, sir.”
"You've been very kind, I'm a big fan of yours."

He started to leave, and he started to sing,
Then turning his head, he said "Just one more thing!

"To bring you this gift, I have come from afar!"
And he pressed in my hand, a smelly cigar.

The cigar was all moldy and stinky and dry,
But I thanked him, and waved him a shaky good-bye.

And then he was gone, in a smoky white fog,
With a bang from his car and a bark from his dogs.

I saw nothing more than the trail of his smoke,
But I heard a hoarse voice, singing out with a croak:

"This old man, he played two…
Merry Christmas day to you…
Knick-knack, paddy-wack, fa-la-la-la-la…
Peace to all, both near and far…"


(continued in Part 2)