‘Twas the night after Christmas and
all through the chamber
Not a creature was stirring, not even a reindeer,
No mythical Jewish or Hindu beasts, either
Just a grumpy observer who was taking
Shaking his head o’er the year near concluded,
“Did it all really happen, or were we deluded?”
Snafus entangled the primary election,
Where some were defeated and felt
A new Council and Clerk were sworn in
Guided by elves on the fourth floor day by day.
“Harley Clarke is still with us,”
mutters Grump, mouth downturn-ed
Unsolved since 2008, House of Usher,
“But wait,” shouts a Potteresque face on the wall
“Lakehouse/Gardens will take it and soon
host a ball
“With twirling gowns, tuxes, bringing in dollars
“For educational programs for the City’s
“Two dozen come yearly two weeks at a time
“Under copper-roofed fog house to learn
“But mostly to run in the dunes playing
capture the flag,”
Mumbled Grumpy as his jowls continued
to impossibly sag.
“Priorities at work!” cried the portrait succinctly.
“Don’t stare at a budget crisis paralyzed
And the Grump then reflected on other
Over the year that was 2017 so full of derisions.
That time when the Grand Elf returned
With predictions of poverty and shortage –
The budget, ’tis short, was announced to the masses
We have not enough to cover expenses,
no funds for molasses
Or anything else for that matter. The scissors are out
We must cut, cut, cut, cut, It is what we’re about.
Union employees got a November day off
Without pay. A coal lump?
So the Grump starts to scoff.
For on that rest day, oh, what did occur?
A snowfall: back to work now, and this day did blur
The budget again. Mother Nature, a shrew
To reveal the furlough a boon to so few.
Council also watched closely and counted
For a Gibbs-Morrison patio when weather is sunny.
The place, barely used, has cost
quite a lot.
But, wait, what if, what if Council
Put in the patio, but delayed for a year?
The money saved then would cover
Delay would not affect programming,
“What programming there?”
then asked the old Grump
Only silence came from that
“And the beach office structure
at Dempster and the Lake …”
“What building?” the portrait shrugged
its shoulders as if to take
A moment to place it. Your comment
“The one lifeguards, token-buyers,
but no one else uses.”
But it needed and received near
$300,000 for that reason,
While, again, our employees lost pay
in the holiday season.
“Next year will be better!” chirped
the portrait unexpectedly.
“Newly electeds need months
to behave more electedly,
Learn how things work, get their feet
And see what the state, fed, and past
Council did bequeath them.
But the Grump shook his head,
and turned toward his bead
With visions of CFOs dancing in
“So you say, inanimate ghost of a
not long ago past,
But you had Marty Lyons to guide,
Our rock, out advisor, he alights
Next year the trouble, the mess,
the controversy before ya
Will land without Marty to explain
and magically convert
To a solution, a proposal, a revenue
source at least tolerably inert.”
The portrait hung its head then,
its holding hook bending.
“He’ll be missed, that Lyons, there
is no use pretending,
As will be Rick Voss who dances
off to retirement
All those parking tickets in 2018
will be tougher to tolerate.”
“Thank you Ricky and Marty,
thank you truly and deeply
The City misses you already,” muttered
the Grump, almost meekly.
“Happy holidays to all,” shouted
someone from somewhere.
“Some things get us down,
but others are fair.
May 2018 bring us more clarity
Of thought, and compassion,
the bywords of charity.
The portrait then straightened,
fading back to the wall,
And the Grump at last wished
Happy New Year to all.