December 23, 2009 12:07:00 PM
With apologies to Clement Moore)
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through Columbus,
Not a creature was stirring, not a possum among us.
The stockings were hung by the Severstal stacks with care,
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of catfish with crawfish sauce danced in their heads.
And mamma in her Mississippi State Snuggie, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter''s nap.
When out on Fifth Street there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to Fuhgetaboutit I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
As the rain puddled up around wrecked cotton crops,
And the Vicksburg Four drove by with a trunk full of cops,
I then saw, my wondering eyes dumbstruck,
Leroy Brooks'' barbecue smoker, pulled by a county work truck.
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than a deer through Ryans'' window they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
"On Kabir, on Mayor Smith, if you don''t mind me troubling you!
Now, Limbert and Reneau! Or is it still The W?
On Mickens! On, Col. Watkins, in your Air Force dress jacket!
On, Rogers at WCBI! On, Larsen at the Packet!"
"On, Joe Max and Charleigh! Let''s get that soccer field land!
And let''s build it real nice, so it''s something we can stand!
To the top of Front Door! To the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"
To the top of the courthouse the motley bunch flew,
With a double-decker bus full of toys, and Mother Goose too.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Like the rain, down the chimney he came with a bound.
He was dressed in performance fleece, from his head to his knees,
I figured he bought it at Old Navy, or possibly Reed''s.
A bundle of Toys lay on his back like a bale,
He looked like a Main Street panhandler, just out of jail.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
Unfortunately, with the smoking ban passed,
He then stepped outside, to have his smoke on the grass.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
When bumped together like Harry and Leroy''s, shook like a bowlful of jelly!
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
He needs to get to the Y, as I do myself.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
Like Haley Barbour merging State and The W (what a jerk).
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a start,
And away they all flew, toward the Aerospace Industrial Park.
But I heard him exclaim, ''ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"
Steve Mullen is Managing Editor of The Dispatch.
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