‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through East County
Not a creature was stirring, in December 2020.
Cowboy boots were hung by chimneys with care
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.
From Barona to Ramona, Jacumba to Jamul
East County folks in quarantine this Yule
Can’t party hearty with potluck dishes,
But they did send Santa these 2021 wishes.
In downtown La Mesa on restaurant row
Where owners are reliant on orders to go,
The merchants are eager to have a vaccine
So that we can soon end this long quarantine.
In rural areas where fires burned through
Residents are asking Santa Claus to
Bring plenty of rain on his Christmas Eve flight
Along with a helicopter that can drop water at night.
Up in the mountains where the weather’s turned cold,
And multi-day power outages have grown old,
The people just want their power to stay on
And shut-off notices from SDG&E to be gone.
El Cajon’s city council is fervently hopin’
The pandemic will end so the Magnolia can open,
Filling the theater in the New Year
With music to spread much-needed cheer.
Santee residents want racial tensions to end,
While renters are asking Santa to send
Payments to landlords to stave off eviction
After layoffs and COVID-19-induced friction.
At Sharp Grossmont Hospital, patients in their beds
Want good health as COVID fears danced in their heads,
While doctors and nurses on the verge of collapse,
Take time out in break rooms for short winter naps,
When up in the sky there arose such a clatter,
They sprang to their feet to see what was the matter.
Away to the exits they flew like a flash,
Tore open the front doors and out they did dash.
The moon on the breast of the sidewalks below
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects aglow,
When, what to their wondering eyes should appear,
But a magical sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
They knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
Beside hawks and eagles, his reindeer they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
"Now Dasher, now Dancer! now Prancer and Vixen!
On Comet! on Cupid! On Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the roof! O’er the hospital wall,
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before Santa Ana winds fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
So onto the helipad the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of gifts, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling came a magical poof,
With the prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As staff drew in their heads, and were turning around,
Down St. Nicholas came to the healthcare team with a bound.
He was dressed in faux fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with pine tar and soot;
A bundle of gifts he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a homeless man opening his pack.
His eyes -- how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth had a mask with a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;
An Indian peace pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And its smoke encircled his head like a wreath;
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook, when he laughed like Julian apple jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
So all laughed when they saw him, in spite of themselves;
A wink of his eye and a nod of his head,
Soon gave them to know they had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but turned with a jerk,
Filling wishes for good health and vaccines that will work,
Then he doled out hand sanitizers and toilet paper rolls,
And giving a nod, to the heavens he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down on a thistle
But all heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Merry Christmas, East County, and to all a good night!”