‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the town twinkle
lights twinkled on hillsides of brown.
I sat at my keyboard, tweaking the chair, and hoped that my column
would pop from thin air.
Each year now I’ve done it, a total of 10, but I doubted I’d do it,
spoil Christmas again.
I steal the meter, the rhythm and much worse, pounding out every year
a holiday verse.
My aim when I started, the goal 10 years back, was to forge a
tradition, not to steal or to hack.
I had hoped for a ritual to be shared every year, a date we’d all know
just what would run here.
So now bosses are waiting, watch the modem with care, in hopes my poem
column soon will be there.
It’s not with excitement, or awe that they wait. They just know it’s a
given, given the date.
So the glitch with tradition, the if and or but, is my worry that I’ve
only stepped into a rut.
These are my thoughts as I boot the computer. That I’m less a
romantic, more Christmas poem looter.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a message I was sent
at the end of last year.
“Dear Will,” it began, implying affection, “This is a note on your
“This year I did notice, you named many leaders, elected and hired to
serve all your readers.
“The names were all listed, like Santa’s reindeer. Can you tell me the
reason mine didn’t appear?”
The writer was right, it’s my annual struggle, saluting my victims
with a holiday huggle.
It’s the one time each year I mention their names, with no barks and
no bites, no sarcastic games.
I was touched and surprised, indeed I was humbled. One would miss the
tradition, my feelings were jumbled.
Each year over 10, I’ve done the same thing, and someone had noticed!
It made my bell ring.
The thinking and typing, the search for a pun, was an effort at least
one reader found fun.
The work is a chore and the meter a bear, and each year some bonehead
editor sticks his nose in and says that sentence is too long or that
rhyme isn’t quite right, and won’t take my word for it that everything
really does fit just the way it’s supposed to -- so leave it alone!
Anyway -- To start I was ready, the poem underway, and this year a
special, I’d run Christmas Day!
More rapid than eagles, the names they did fly, On Ovrom and Helvey,
on Tague who’s so sly!
On Murphy, on Wiggins. On Kramer, Laur-ell! But rhyming Golonski’s
going to be...difficult.
These folks and Chief Newsham, and dozens of others, who aren’t known
in my space by their own mothers.
They spend or misspeak, or make a mistake and here over coals, twice
weekly I rake.
Airport expansion, and a PAC known as ROAR, they keep us resembling an
Let’s dare not forget Wildman, Schiff or Jim Rogan, each one claims to
fix all our woes with a slogan.
So this is my chance, the time once each year, That I offer them each
some holiday cheer.
I’m grateful they fumble, contort and confuse. They make so much work
for my often cruel muse.
But good wishes from me, and my thanks most profuse, belong to the
readers, and that’s all of yous.
Keep calling and writing and all that e-mailing, your comments and
questions feed my regaling.
It’s my privilege to be here, it’s really your call. Merry Christmas
to you, happy holidays to all.
Will Rogers’ column appears in every edition of the Leader. He can be
reached 24 hours a day at 241-4141 voice mail ext. 906, or by e-mail at