Saturday, December 24, 2011

Around Town: Around Town: 'Twas the Night Before — well, you know

’Twas the month before Christmas, when all through the town

Dr. Joe was kvetching* about Scrooge, wearing a frown.

Edison had re-strung its lines with care,

In hopes that the power soon would be there.

The school board was nestled all snug in their beds,

While visions of lawsuits danced in their heads.

And Miss Hepburn* in her kerchief, and I with her sock,

Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s walk*.

When over by Gould, there arose such a clatter,

I sprang from the curb to see what was the matter.

Away to the commotion, we flew like a flash,

It was Redfern and Randolph in a mad dash.

Redfern was quoting chapter and verse

Randolph quoted her back to rebut and converse

Redfern denied it, but Randolph had proof.

It was right on the website*, what a God-awful goof.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen December

Gave the luster of midday to each school board member.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,

But a mountain lion and a huge local bear.

With an old-time reporter, so lively and brazen,

I knew in a moment it must be Don Mazen*.

More rapid than eagles Don Mazen, he came,

And he whistled, and shouted, and called us by name!

“Now Puglia! now, Brenner! now, Cormaci and O’Neil!

Get back in the saddle. Investigate with zeal

To the top of your skill set! With hyphens galore!

Now dash away! Dash away! Give them “what for!”

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,

When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.

So up to the school board, we writers we flew,

With notebooks and pencils, and Don Mazen too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof

The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.

As I drew in my head, and was turning around,

Down the chimney the 1st Amendment came with a bound.

It was dressed all in gossamer, from its head to its foot,

And its provisions were all tarnished with ashes and soot.

A bundle of flags it had flung on its back,

And it looked like a soldier, just opening his pack.

Its eyes-how they twinkled! Its provisions how merry!

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”

We spoke not a word, but went straight to our work,

To cover the union and Leko and all of their quirks.

And laying our fingers aside of our noses,

Democracy in action is no bed of roses.

The 1st Amendment sprang to the front, to us gave a whistle,

And away it flew, like the down of a thistle.

And we heard it exclaim, ‘ere it fled out of sight,

“Happy celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable

traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, tonight!”


Kvetching: French word for complaining (Jewish people sometimes refer to Yiddish as French, and Aramaic as Klingon).

Miss Audrey Hepburn: Our black Lab. She has her own stationery and is very well-mannered.

Walk: Walk down Foothill Boulevard in the middle of the night.

Website: the La Cañada Teacher’ Assn. website does actually say, “I will not participate in any conversations with management that criticize, or negatively speculate about any union colleague.” And, “If any union colleague is being criticized in my presence, I will confront the criticism and ask that it stop.” See the “about us” page on

Don Mazen: Was a writer and editor for the Valley Sun for years. He left no stone unturned.

“Happy celebration … etc.”: There are many versions of this greeting on the Internet.

Valley Sun Around Town: 'Twas the Night Before — well, you know

Chicago Tribune Online Around Town: 'Twas the Night Before — well, you know

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