‘Twas the night before Christmas

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 22, 2005

With all due respect to the late Clement Clarke Moore or Major Henry Livingston Jr. (depends on which author you believe penned this famous poem), here’s my version of, &uot;’Twas the Night Before Christmas.&uot;

‘Twas the night before Christmas and throughout the News-Herald, not a creature was stirring, not even Billy Harrell.

The news copy was hung by the computers with care, in hopes that we could report it, accurate and fair.

Each reporter stared at a lifeless screen while visions of a Pulitzer turned their writing style a bit mean.

I sat in my chair, my hands in my lap, thinking that the best thing after a huge meal would be a nice nap.

When over in the sports department there arose such a clatter that I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter.

Out my door I flew like a flash, slipped on a string of e-mails at Barbara’s desk, fell and busted my #%&*#!

The dim light from the paper morgue shone on the glossy waxed floor as I stretched out my neck in order to see more.

When what to my overworked eyes should appear, but the sight of a burgundy pick-up drawing near.

Bearing a driver with an Alabama drawl and his sidekick McKenzie, I knew in an instant that it must be Publisher Jeff Finley.

As slow as molasses his employees they came, as he fussed called them by name.

Now Donna, now Steph, now Dave and Dave, on Teresa, Judy, Fee-Fee, Tammy, Sid, Thadd, Patrick, Barbara, Lauren, Cuz and Cal – to the top of the advertising and reader satisfaction list, let’s make certain nary a customer we miss.

As amble and quick as Randy Moss, the employees raced from their chairs in order to please their boss.

The ad reps manned the phones; the reporters grabbed their note pad; we did everything in our power not to make the boss mad.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard from the press room, the side door open with a boom.

We all listened for the turn of the telltale key, and knew it was none other than Perry G.

His hands were dark, the sign of printer’s ink, but that didn’t stop him from trying to wash it off in the sink.

At his side was trusty Calvin, who, without malice, was sneaking a peek at the TV to catch a score from Dallas.

One by one, Perry’s workers they arrived, ready for another midnight run on the press side.

First came Sarah, Dianna and Larry, followed by Martha, Elton, Pudding and William looking for insets by the million.

As the press rolled, the inserters they flew, the fastest in the land, all in an effort to satisfy the postman.

&uot;Hurry,&uot; said Perry, as he looked mean, urging a group that included Brenda, Marion, Gloria, Ribbon, Shenita and Darlene.

As for me, chubby and plump, a right hateful old cuss, I dug into my work so Jeff wouldn’t fuss.

But wink of his eye and words that were kind gave us all the notion that we could beat the deadline.

Quitting time came and we sprang to our cars, shot out of the parking lot like a mission to Mars.

And I heard everyone exclaim with much sorrow, Bah, Humbug – we’ll be back to publish another edition tomorrow!

From all of us here at the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, here’s wishing you, your family and friends all the joys of the Christmas season.