Thank you to Phil Rigg for submitting the following to OTR Matters. According to Rigg, “It was written as a call to action, and if it helps just one child to have a Merry Christmas, mission accomplished.”
Twas the night before Christmas, in Over the Rhine
The streets were all quiet, a very good sign.
The restaurants and shops in their garlands now dressed
All the patrons and workers have gone home to rest.
To Washington Park, I’m led by my dog
I pass by a young couple, who’s out for a jog.
They ask, “What’s your dog’s name”, as they jog down the street
I say his name’s Budkiss, he a mutt but he’s sweet.
I enter the park, past statues quite old
I pass by the placards, where history is told
I pass the gazebo, that’s lit for the night
A light snow starts falling, what a beautiful sight.
We head for the dog park, and open the gate
Budkiss was anxious, he had a long time to wait.
While he’s doing his business, he had a full bladder
In the night sky above, I hear quite a clatter.
As I raise my head up, I can’t believe what I see
A sleigh pulled by reindeer, and it’s coming towards me.
It lands on the lawn, and pulls up to the park
I’m standing there speechless, my dog starts to bark.
Inside of the sleigh, there’s a fat elf wearing red
He says to me, “I thought this hood was dead.
I used to come here, great brats and good beer
Decades have passed, since I’ve felt that cheer”.
“I see things are better, and it’s a good thing to see”
He gets out of his sleigh, and walks up to me.
“I have gifts for the children, the good girls and boys
I have heaters and blankets, and quite a few toys”.
“This stop was not scheduled, not Over the Rhine
These kids are all good! But I’m out of time.
I need an assistant, an assistant elf”.
What have I gotten into, I ask of myself.
He leaves me the heaters, the blankets and toys
These I’ll deliver, to the good girls and boys.
He gets on his sleigh, and gets ready to leave
He says “next year I’ll come back, O.T.R. Christmas Eve”.
He whistles, and shouts and he calls them by name
Now Charlie! Now Leroy, now Betsy, and Blain!
On, Rasmus! On, Remus! On, Janice be bold!
I guess reindeer retire, when they get too old.
He looks at me once, with a wink and a nod
He takes to the air, now I have a big job.
He flies over Music Hall, and then out of sight
I hear merry Christmas to all! And to all a good night.
Budkiss is sweet, but not much of an elf
I need help with these gifts, please consider yourself.
Attend a church service, or donate some time
We can make this the best Christmas ever, in Over the Rhine.
- Phil Rigg, Christmas 2012