‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the streets;
Not much was moving, not even Prancing Elites;
And tunnel congestion was unusually light;
And still a huge bridge with bike paths is nowhere in sight;
Mobilians were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of Airbus jobs danced in their heads;
And while sporting the only nightgown I own,
I had just settled in to watch “Game of Thrones,”
When down at the courthouse you could hear such excitement,
Perhaps there was more about Kim Hastie’s indictment.
Away to the Twitter, searching hashtags,
Had she indeed pled, would this end our fast tags?
The moon shimmied off the waves on Dog River,
Giving the lustre of midday to the piles of litter,
When what to my wondering eyes did appear,
But Mayor Stimpson himself with his councilors near,
The mayor walked and pointed so lively and quick,
I guessed that his first year had not made him sick.
More rapid than Tide players the councilors came,
And he whistled, and shouted and called them by name:
“Now, John! Now Gina! Now C.J. and Fred!
On, Manzie! On Joel! Bess, you heard what I said!”
From the electronic moonpie to the Theodore line!
This city needs fixing, there’s no time to whine!”
Like Richardson on a useless junket they flew,
The mayor pointed out obstacles and things they should do;
To the leaky roof of Government Plaza they ascended
With thoughts of challenges both real and pretended —
And then, in a twinkling, someone lamented GulfQuest
“Now it won’t open ‘till late spring at best!”
Sandy sighed at the mention, and was turning around,
When Commissioner Hudson arrived with a bound.
She was dressed all in fur, very stylish and neat,
And pointing at swamps where the Interstates meet;
A bundle of plans she had flung in a sack,
And she said soccer fields would bring this town back.
Her eyes — how they twinkled! The plan, so fecund!
It wouldn’t cost nothin’, all RESTORE Act funds!
Sandy’s mouth drew up like he smelled something bad,
And he mentioned “successes” such projects have had;
“The cruise terminal alone,” he said through his teeth,
“Is disaster enough, we need some relief.”
He had a red face and his hands on his belly
And shook when he laughed at something so silly.
He continued to giggle, his right jolly old self,
And even Richardson laughed, not sure why himself;
A wink of his eye and twist of his head
Let the council all know the Civic Center is dead;
He spoke lots of words about what needed work,
About paving Ann Street, stopping littering jerks,
And how cleaning up is so incredibly hard,
With the Press-Register trashing everyone’s yard;
And laying a finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, his dapper driver arose;
He sprang to the elevator, prayed it wouldn’t get stuck,
Waved to the council and bid them good luck.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he passed the town’s biggest steeple —
“Happy Christmas and New Years! See you at the Village People!”
Apologies to Clement Clarke Moore and anyone who likes poetry.
THE GADFLY BY LAURA RASMUSSEN
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