On the Twelfth day of Christmas,
My true love gave to me,
Twelve census searches,
Eleven Printer ribbons,
Ten e-mail contacts,
Nine headstone rubbings,
Eight birth and death dates,
Seven town clerks sighing,
Six second cousins,
Five coats of arms,
Four GEDCOM files,
Three old wills,
And a branch in my family tree.
In a small Southern town there was a "Nativity Scene" that showed great skill and talent had gone into creating it. One small feature bothered me. The three wise men were wearing firemen's helmets.
Totally unable to come up with a reason or explanation, I left and at a "Quik Stop" on the edge of town, I asked the lady behind the counter about the helmets. She exploded into a rage, yelling at me, "You darn Yankees never do read the Bible!"
I assured her that I did, but simply couldn't recall anything about firemen in the Bible.
She jerked her Bible from behind the counter and ruffled thru some pages, and finally jabbed her finger at a passage. Sticking it in my face she said, "See, it says right here, 'The three wise man came from afar.'"
Don't bring me new dishes;
I don't need a new kind of game.
Genealogists have peculiar wishes;
For Christmas I just want a surname.
A new washing machine would be great,
But it isn't the desire of my life.
I've just found an ancestor's birth date,
Now I need the name of his wife.
My heart doesn't yearn for a ring
that would put a real diamond to shame.
What I want is a much cheaper thing:
Please give me Martha's last name.
To see my heart singing with joy,
Don't bring me a red leather suitcase.
Bring me a genealogist's toy:
A surname, with dates and a place.
If panic is mounting
As Christmas draws near ...
E-mail to the rescue,
There's nothing to fear.
Be brief and be clear ...
No newsy letters
Outlining our year.
No lines at the Post
Or cards gone astray ...
Just warmth and best wishes,
Delivered this day.
To all our good friends
Good Yule and good cheer
And happy computing
Throughout the new year.
With time we've just saved
We'll open a beer
And sit by the fire ...
Computer books near.
In closing, take note
The precedent's clear
In the immortal words
Of Paul Revere:
One if by land,
Two if by Sea.
If you don't have e-mail
You won't hear from me.
'Twas the night before Christmas, and he lived all alone;
In a one bedroom house made of plaster and stone.
I had come down the chimney with presents to give,
and to see what manner of person in this home did live.
I looked all about, a strange sight did I see;
no tinsel, no presents, not even a tree.
No stocking by the mantle, just boots filled with sand,
And on the wall hung many pictures of far distant lands.
With medals and badges, and awards of all kinds,
Suddenly a thought so sobering came into my mind.
For this house was much different, it was so dark and dreary,
I was in the house of an Airman, once I could see clearly.
The Airman lay sleeping, silent, all alone;
Curled upon the floor in this one bedroom home.
The face was so gentle, the room in such disorder,
Not exactly how I imagined I'd find an airman soldier.
Was this the hero of whom I'd just read?
Curled up on a poncho, the floor for a bed?
I then realized the families I saw on this night,
Owed their lives to these airmen who were willing to fight.
For soon 'round the world the children would play,
And grownups would celebrate a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed their freedom each month of the year,
Because of the airmen, like the one lying here.
I couldn't help wonder how many more lay alone,
On a cold Christmas Eve, in some land far from home.
The very thought brought a tear to my eye,
And I dropped to my knees and started to cry.
The Airman awakened and I heard a rough voice,
"Santa, don't cry, this life is my choice;
I fight for our freedom, I don't ask for more,
My life is my God, my country, my Air Force."
The Airman rolled over and drifted back to sleep,
But I couldn't control it, I started to weep.
I kept watch for hours, so silent and still
Until we both shivered hard from the cold night's chill.
I didn't want to leave on that cold, dark night
This Guardian of Honor so willing to fight.
Then the Airman rolled over, and with a voice soft and pure,
Whispered, "Carry on, Santa, it's Christmas Day and all is secure."
One look at my watch and I knew he was right
Merry Christmas, my friend, and to all a Good Night!
T'was the night before Christmas, when all thru the abode
Only one creature was stirring, and she was cleaning the commode.
The children were finally sleeping, all snug in their beds,
While visions of Nintendo 64 and Barbie, flipped through their heads.
The dad was snoring in front of the TV,
With a half-constructed bicycle on his knee.
So only the mom heard the reindeer hooves clatter,
Which made her sigh, "Now what's the matter?"
With toilet bowl brush still clutched in her hand,
She descended the stairs, and saw the old man.
He was covered with ashes and soot, which fell with a shrug.
"Oh great," muttered the mom, "Now I have to clean the rug."
"Ho-ho-ho!" cried Santa, "I'm glad you're awake."
"Your gift was especially difficult to make."
"Thanks, Santa, but all I want is some time alone."
"Exactly!" he chuckled, "I've made you a clone."
"A clone?" she asked, "What good is that?
Run along, Santa, I've no time for chit-chat."
And there she stood. The mother's twin.
Same hair, same eyes, same double chin.
"She'll cook, she'll dust, she'll mop every mess.
You'll relax, take it easy, watch The Young & the Restless."
"Fantastic!" the mom cheered. "My dream come true!
I'll shop. I'll read. I'll sleep a whole night through!"
From the room above, the youngest began to fret.
"Mommy?! I scared... and I 'm wet."
The clone replied, "I'm coming, sweetheart."
"Hey," the mom smiled, "She knows her part."
The clone changed the small one, and hummed a tune,
As she bundled the child, in a blanket cocoon.
"You the best mommy ever. I really love you."
The clone smiled and sighed, "I love you, too."
The mom frowned and said, "Sorry, Santa, no deal."
That's my child's love, she's trying to steal."
Smiling wisely Santa said, "To me it is clear,
Only one loving mother, is needed here."
The mom kissed her child, and tucked her into bed.
"Thank you, Santa, for clearing my head.
I sometimes forget, it won't be very long,
When they'll be too old, for my cradle-song."
The clock on the mantle began to chime.
Santa whispered to the clone, "It works every time."
With the clone by his side Santa said, "Goodnight.
Merry Christmas, Mom, You'll be all right."
'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the nets
Not a mousie was stirring, not even the pets.
The floppies were stacked by the modem with care
In hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.
The files were nestled all snug in a folder
The screen saver turned on, the weather was colder.
And leaving the keyboard along with my mouse,
I turned from the screen to the rest of the house.
When up from the drive there arose such a clatter
I turned to the screen to see what was the matter.
Away to the mouse I flew like a flash,
Zoomed open a window in fear of a crash ...
The glow from the screen on the keyboard below,
Gave an electronic luster to all my macros.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a little sleigh icon with eight tiny reindeer.
And a tiny disk driver so SCSI and quick,
I knew in a nano it must be Saint Nick.
More rapid than trackballs his cursors they came,
He whistled and shouted and faxed them by name.
"Now Flasher! Now Dasher! Now Raster and Bixel!
On Phosphor! On Photon! On Baudrate and Pixel!
To the top of the stack. To the top of the heap."
Then each little reindeer made a soft beep.
As data that before the wild electrons fly,
When they meet with a node, mount to the drive,
So up to the screentop the cursors they flew.
With a sleigh full of disks and databits, too.
And then in a twinkling I heard the high whine,
Of a modem connecting at a baud rate so fine.
As I gazed at the screen with a puzzling frown,
St. Nicholas logged on though I thought I was down.
He was dressed all in bytes from header to footer,
And the words on the screen said "Don't you reboot 'er."
A bundle of bits he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a programmer starting his hack.
His eyes how they glazed, his hair was so scary,
His cola was jolt, not flavored with cherry.
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a GIF,
And the pixels of his beard sure gave me a lift.
The stump of a routine he held tight in his code,
And I knew he had made it past the last node.
He spoke not a word but looked right at me,
And I saw in a flash his file was ..SEA.
He self-decompressed and I watched him unfold,
Into a jolly old elf, a sight to behold.
And the whispering sound of my hard drive's head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He went straight to his work without saying a word,
And filled all the folders of this happy nerd.
And 'tis the whole truth, as the story is told,
That giving a nod up the window he scrolled.
He sprang to the serial port as if truly on fire,
And away they all flew down the thin copper wire.
But I heard him exclaim as he scrolled out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to All, and to all a good night."
Twas the night before Christmas and all around my hips
Were Fanny May candies that sneaked past my lips.
Fudge brownies were stored in the freezer with care
In hopes that my thighs would forget they were there.
While Mama in her girdle and I in chin straps
Had just settled down to sugar-borne naps.
When out in the pantry there arose such a clatter
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter
Away to the kitchen I flew like a flash
Tore open the icebox then threw up the sash
The marshmallow look of the new-fallen snow
Sent thoughts of a binge to my body below.
When what to my wandering eyes should appear:
A marzipan santa with eight chocolate reindeer!
That huge chunk of candy so luscious and slick
I knew in a second that I'd wind up sick.
The sweet-coated santa, those sugared reindeer
I closed my eyes tightly but still I could hear;
On Pritzker, on Stillman, on weak one, on TOPS
a Weight Watcher dropout form sugar detox.
From the top of the scales to the top of the hall
Now dash away pounds now dash away all.
Dressed up in Lane Bryant from my head to nightdress
My clothes were all bulging from too much excess.
My droll little mouth and my round little belly
They shook when I laughed like a bowl full of jelly
I spoke not a word but went straight to my work
Ate all of the candy then turned with a jerk.
And laying a finger beside my heartburn
I gave a quick nod and toward the bedroom I turned
I eased into bed, to the heavens I cry
If temptation's removed I'll get thin by and by.
And I mumbled again as I turned in for the night
In the morning I'll starve ... 'till I take that first bite!
Not long ago and not far away Santa was getting ready for his annual trip ... but there were problems everywhere.
Four of the elves got sick, and the trainee elves didn't produce the toys as fast as the regular ones, so Santa was beginning to feel the pressure of being behind schedule.
Then Mrs. Claus told Santa her mom was coming to visit and that stressed him even more ... and then when he went to harness the reindeer he found that three of them were about to give birth and two had jumped the fence and were out heaven knows where ... more stress.
Then, as he began to load the sleigh, one of the boards on the sleigh cracked and the toy bag fell to the ground and scattered all the toys.
So our frustrated Santa went into the house for a cup of coffee and a shot of whiskey onlt to find that the elves had hit the liquor cupboard and there was nothing left to drink ... and in his frustration, he dropped the coffee pot and it broke into hundreds of little pieces all over the kitchen floor.
To top it all off ... when he went to get the broom he discovered that the mice had eaten the straw it was made from.
Just then the doorbell rang and Santa cussed as he went to open the door. When he opened the door he found a little angel with a great big Christmas tree and the angel asked Santa where he'd you like the Christmas tree put.
And that, my friend, is how the little angel came to be on top of the Christmas tree.
E-mail contributions to Rob Nelson.
Nov 1, 2001