Staff Columnist

'Twas the night before Christmas, but Santa can't make it

"He spoke not a word but went straight to his work," an original illustration by Everett Shinn (1942), is shown at the Brandywine Museum in Chadds Ford, Pa., Monday, Nov. 21, 2005. (AP Photo/Courtesy of Brandwine Museum)

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house

Not a virus was spreading. We locked them all out.

The stockings were hung with care by the tree

In hopes that St. Nicholas would be COVID-free.

The children were up and staring at phones

Entranced by some TikTok like sweet zombie drones.

My wife in her sweatpants and I in my onesie

Had just settled down to stream shows by the tonsie.

When out on our lawn there arose such a clatter

I jumped and spilled our charcuterie platter.

Away to the window I flew with a dash

Tripped over the Roomba and suffered a gash.

Motion lights on the dirt of the old melted snow

Warned all intruders you really should go.

When what through my transition lenses appeared

A miniature sleigh and eight masked up reindeer.

With a little old driver so lively and quick

Where is his beard? That can’t be St. Nick.

More rapid than 5G his coursers they came

And he whistled and shouted and called them by name.

“Now, Distance! On Isolate! Now Pfizer and Vaccine!

“On, Moderna! On Lockdown, on Shelter and Quarantine!”

“Flatten the curve! Send the message to all!

“Slow the spread! Slow the spread! Slow the spread all!”

As leaves before a wild derecho fly

There went my new shingles, tossed into the sky.

So up on my housetop his wild reindeer flew

With a sleigh-full of stuff, if not St. Nick, who?

And then in an instant I heard them land hard

Their hoofs got entangled, goodbye gutter guard.

As I shook my head and was feeling quite grouchy

Down the chimney he came. It’s Dr. Anthony Fauci!

He wore a gray suit from his head past his knee

From under his mask I heard “You’re surprised to see me?”

“Santa can’t make it. He’s missing the scene.

“The jolly old elf, he caught COVID-19.”

His words, authoritative, his voice steady and firm

But we worried about Santa, catching this germ.

He told us no worries that Santa’s not here

He’s at the North Pole taking remdesivir.

Sensing our trauma, he moved like a flash

Gave us pipes and cannabis from his personal stash.

He had a kind face, but no belly was seen

He rarely laughed, and talked much of vaccines.

He was full of much data, an informative doc

But as he droned on I kept checking the clock.

Gone was the jolly, his message was sober

I’ll need a stiff drink when all this is over.

And what of our gifts? We stood so expectant.

Instead, the doc brought masks, face shields, disinfectant.

And pulling his mask up over his nose

With an elbow bump, up the chimney he rose.

He ran to his sleigh, from his team he stayed distant

And then they were gone, in what seemed like an instant.

But I heard him prescribe as he drove out of sight

“Wait your turn for vaccines, and don’t you dare fight!”

Merry Christmas!

(319) 398-8262; todd.dorman@thegazette.com

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