I say it every time the end of the calendar nears and it seems more true than ever this year: I can’t believe another year has flown by and it’s already Christmas. I’ve barely got over all the food I ate at Thanksgiving, for cryin out loud. With another week or so of eating and drinking looming, I may have to actually make an honest-to-goodness effort to become a consistent gym-goer in 2014. But that’s a column for another day. This week’s column, an annual holiday staple for about 10 years now, is my take on “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” A really cool thing about this year’s column is that- due to our publication date of Dec. 25 on the front page and our early press time and delivery date – many of you may actually be reading this the night before Christmas. Before I get started, I want to take time to say thank you to my family and friends, my great Citizen staff and all you Citizen readers – and advertisers, too - out there. Platte County is a truly great place to live and work and I feel very fortunate to be able to do both. Thanks for letting us into your lives each week. Without further ado: “Twas the Night Before Christmas, Citizen Style.” I had a lot of fun writing it and I hope you have fun reading it. Have a Very Merry Christmas. *************** ‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the land, All the good rock-n-rollers jammed to Bruce and his band. The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, In hopes that on Christmas morn, a Citizen subscription would be there.
All The Citizen staffers had fed Typo, a very famous fat cat And were safe in their homes, where their families were at. Meanwhile, Patty in her PJs and I in my Ron Burgundy sleepsuit, Were watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas” and drinking egg nog, to boot.
Then I heard on the scanner that in Platte City there had arose quite a clatter, I turned away from the tube and said, “What the heck is the matter?” My wife gave me a nudge, and said, “Go do your job!” So I grabbed my camera and notebook and hustled down to my Dodge.
I arrived in front of the Platte County Courthouse and what did I see, But Platte City Police Chief Carl Mitchell waving frantically at me. I stuck my notebook in my pocket and said, “Hey Chief, what’s going on?” He said, “You can’t park here – Santa’s getting ready to land on the Courthouse lawn.”
I turned around and looked towards the Courthouse front steps, Where standing near the door and wringing their hands in obvious stress Were a gaggle of mayors, with papers and lists in their hands Platte City’s Frank Offutt, Weston’s C.R. Carter and Parkville’s Jim Brooks all offered me their hands
I shook them and wished them Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. Then I asked them point-blank: “It’s Christmas Eve, why are all you guys here?’ “We’re here to see Santa,” they cried, “and we’ve been very good boys.” “We want to give him our lists, full of wishes and toys.”
As I came a little closer to see the mayors’ wish lists I saw a trio of Repubs coming out of the foggy night mist. They wore the Platte County seal and looked distinguished, it’s true. It was none other than Platte County Commissioners Jason, Beverlee and Duane, too.
Commissioner Brown said he was wary of the coming new year. Because with each passing day, the fall election draws near He said: “My Chapel Ridge vote was no doubt a risky bet,” “And I hope it’s not a decision that I come to regret.”
While I was thinking to myself truer words had never been muttered. Commissioners Roper and Soper proved they had no plans to be shuttered. “Our tax ceiling was lowered and we didn’t know!” Beverlee cried. Then added Duane: “We will get it back – it’s a matter of pride.”
“And that’s not all,” Soper said, pumping his fist in the air. “We’re going to fund those radios – try to stop us if you dare!” He then turned to the sky and pointed at what looked like an elf. Driving a souped-up red sleigh – it was Santa Claus, himself!
Now a little red-faced and in need of some holiday good cheer I approached Santa’s sleigh, and his posse of rock star reindeer. St. Nick was dressed all in Chiefs red, from his head to his toe And he shouted, “Andy Reid and his boys, to the playoffs they go.”
Santa then hopped off his sled and said, “Rudolph, come here.” “Why don’t you go to the Pool Hall and get me a burger and a beer.” Then he grabbed a big bag from the sled’s jam-packed bed And he dropped it to the ground, like it was filled with blocks of lead.
Santa’s eyes, how they were bleary, from an apparent lack of sleep, But his voice remained strong, full of timbre and deep. “I’m a little late,” he said, “because I had many lumps of coal to deliver” “To the Jayhawkers in Lawrence – you know, those birds across the river.”
“And what of Mizzou,” I cried. “And their No. 8 ranking?” “Do you think they will rebound and get over that brutal Auburn spanking?” Santa then toked on his pipe and looked rather amused. “Don’t worry,” he cackled, “There is no way the Cotton Bowl your Tigers will lose.”
With a sigh, Santa then turned to his voluminous bag. From the depths of the sack, he pulled and he zigged and he zagged. And what to my surprise did the old elf finally pull out, But a Pirate, two Panthers, a Trojan and Bluejay, no doubt.
The PC buccaneer said, “We’re in a year of transition.” And the PH Trojan pointed out that it was in the same position. The WP Bluejay bristled its feathers and promised another great hoops year. While the Panthers — North Platte’s and Park Hill South’s —growled for everyone to hear.
Santa calmed the mascots down and sent them all on their way Then he wondered aloud about what 2014 would have to say. “President Obama is catching grief for his Affordable Care Act,” “I say let’s give it some time, and then gather all the facts.”
Then Santa adjusted his cap, and pulled on his infrared glasses, He gave a nod to Rudolph, who cried “Reindeer, shake your a---s.” And as the Christmas Eve snow swirled down to the ground, Santa’s sleigh rose into the sky, making my head spin round and round
I counted my blessings and said a prayer for all the fallen. I said another for friends and my family – wife, daughter and son. And then I heard Santa exclaim, as the sleigh disappeared into the night, “Merry Christmas to all Platte Countians — and to all a good night!”