Sloan Column: A COVID spin on a holiday classic
It may very well be the most well known poem of all time. We’ve all heard it. Many of us would say the holidays are just not the same without hearing it or reading it at least once, especially if you have children.
“Twas The Night Before Christmas” truly captures the spirit of the season. First published anonymously in 1823 under the title “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” it was later credited to Clement C. Moore, a literature professor and Episcopal pastor from upstate New York. There is no way Moore or anyone else could have imagined how engrained these verses would become to our culture. It’s where we get our image of Old St. Nick as a jolly old elf. It introduced the world to Santa’s flying reindeer. While there are only eight reindeer mentioned in the poem, it’s safe to say that without Moore’s classic there would be no Rudolph. Can you imagine Christmas without the fabled red-nosed reindeer?
The much-loved poem has survived and endured for nearly 200 years and will continue to do so for generations to come. And nearly every year the poem spawns modern versions or parodies, fitting the timeless classic to present day events. This year is no different.
With permission from the author, I now offer you “Twas The Night Before Christmas, 2020,” by Carole E. Campbell.
“Twas was the year 2020, and all through the house
every creature was stirring, from Human to Mouse.
The stockings were tossed on the chimney, who cares,
it's been months since we entertained, would Saint Nick even dare?
The children were nestled all snug in their beds
as visions of rubber gloves danced in their heads.
and Mama in her gaiter and me and my mask,
had just settled our brains for a long cleaning task.
When out on the roof there arose such a clatter.
I sprang from my mop to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash.
I peeked through the shutter, barely touching the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
gave me faith that someday we'd have somewhere to go.
When what do my wondering eyes should appear,
but a miniature sleigh, and eight spotless reindeer.
With a little old driver decked out in full gear,
I knew in a moment we'd have Christmas this year!
More safely than Hazmat the reindeer they came,
and he whistled and shouted and called them by name.
Now Clorox! Now Pine-Sol! Now Lysol and Purex!
On Comet! On Purell! On Top Job and Germ-X!
Wipe the top of the porch! Then the top of the wall!
Now wipe away! Wipe away! Wipe away all!
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
when they finished and then took a jump to the sky.
So up to the housetop the reindeer they flew.
With a sleigh full of masks, and Saint Nicholas too!
And then in a twinkling I heard on the roof,
the pawing of each little rubber gloved hoof.
As I pulled up my mask and was turning around,
Down the chimney a big bucket came with a bound!
It was covered in plastic from bottom to top,
and the contents were sterile, despite the long drop.
I missed seeing his eyes and his dimples so merry.
But this virus prevents that, these times are so scary.
I imagined his face and his little round belly,
That shook when he laughed like hand sanitizer jelly.
but I saw him outside though, as he stood near his sleigh,
and I laughed when I saw him, from six feet away.
With a wink of his eye and a wave of his hand,
I felt warm inside, Santa too understands.
And without a word I went right to my work.
I filled all our stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying a finger aside of his mask,
The reindeer rose up, they had finished their task.
He waved to me then, to his team gave a shout,
and socially distancing, quickly flew out.
But I heard him proclaim as he drove out of sight,
Merry Christmas to all, we will all be all right!”