By Miriam Raftery
‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all across East County
Not a creature was stirring, from Julian to El Monte.
The stockings were hung by the chimneys with care
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon will be there.
From Barona to Ramona, Jacumba to Jamul,
East County residents will soon celebrate the Yule.
From smart phones and ipads, amid holiday dishes
Our readers have sent Santa their holiday wishes.
Out in Borrego, where the water’s run low,
The town wants a deluge of rainfall to flow.
In gridlocked Santee, residents ask Santa to
Please bring some new lanes for State Route 52.
Lemon Grove’s City Council is asking Kris Kringle
To bring in new businesses and make cash registers jingle.
Over in El Cajon, loyal arts fans are hopin’
The Performing Arts Center soon will reopen.
Meanwhile in Lakeside residents ask help divine
To stop El Monte Valley from becoming a sand mine.
In La Mesa’s downtown, where a farmers’ market’s begun,
Merchants want more shoppers and diners to come.
Alpine fire survivors need to rebuild from ash,
So they’re asking for stockings to be filled with cash.
Rural ratepayers want utility bills please to go down,
Descanso just wants power to stay on in their town.
Out at Cottonwood Golf Course, on the 18th hole,
Neighbors ask Santa to leave a lump of coal
For the course’s new owner who wants to mine sand
Harming wildlife in a preserve on neighboring land.
Out in the vineyards from valleys to mountaintops
Winery owners ask Santa for bountiful crops.
Julian’s farmers want more apples to grow
So all the town’s pie makers can be rolling in dough.
At East County’s Native American reservations
Tribes seek good fortune for all sovereign nations.
As Sycuan’s new hotel opening date draws near,
The tribe hopes the New Year brings plenty of cheer.
With political changes now sweeping the nation,
Local officials want bipartisan cooperation.
But Congressman Hunter, snuggled in his bed
Has visions of acquittal dancing in his head.
Like Bethlehem immigrants from far away,
Migrants at our border have no place to stay;
They hope for asylum to start a new life
In the United States, free from fear and from strife.
Local migrants from Mexico and the Mideast
Want Santa to please bring our planet world peace.
East County’s homeless want a safe place to sleep,
While desert rangers want to count more bighorn sheep.
On Mt. Helix, a parole office is proposed near a school;
Neighbors want the project stopped for their Yule.
Atop Mount Laguna, lodge guests in night caps
Just settled down for a long winter's nap,
When out o’er the lodge there arose such a clatter,
They sprang from their beds to see what was the matter.
Away to the windows they flew like a flash,
Jumped on e-scooters and out they did dash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below,
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 golden 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 mountain! Then the new border wall.
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before Santa Ana winds fly,
When they meet with a wind turbine, mount to the sky,
So up to the Mount Laguna the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, guests heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As they texted the good news and were turning around,
Down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed in faux-fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with wildfires’ soot;
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a backpacker 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 was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin was as white as the snow;
A hemp pipe, now legal, 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 elfy,
So guests laughed when they saw him, and some took a selfie;
A wink of his eye and the red cowboy hat on his head,
Soon gave all to know they had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings; then turned with a twerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like a swift Space-X missile
But all heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
“Merry Christmas, East County, and to all a good night!”