’Twas just before New Year’s and throughout E-town

No snow was in sight, a light mist coming down.

The lights were blue-hazy, there wasn’t much cheer.

So TG stepped out of the cold for a beer.

A stop sign’s a usual thing on a street

But on the inside TG must be discreet

Not to miss anything that the patrons will say

About this fair City, now swaddled in gray.

TG listened closely but heard only mumbling,

But then it got louder – distinctly ’twas grumbling.

Evanston Past was just too far away,

Evanston Present was what would hold sway:

 “Parking rates are too high; they drive patrons from here

“Two dollars an hour is just too much, we fear

“Especially when next door in Skokie, Wilmette

“Free parking for everything is what you can get.”

Of parking one said, “there’s more sticky wickets.

“The City canned Brown over three parking tickets.

“Not issued to him, but all to his staff

“In a free City lot – one more City gaffe.”

Querulousness waxed, and there was no restraint.

About this year’s wheel tax there was a complaint:

“Why scatter-shot notices, why no envelopes?”

The answer: “The City doesn’t think that we’re dopes.

“We know how much and we know where to pay.

“It’s a cost-saving measure, so leave it, I say.”

“The lawsuit in James Park cost us almost nine million,

“And the chances of winning were one in a billion.”

More: “Council gave NU its wishes, not heeding

“The neighbors and business that did so much pleading

“to keep liquor and concerts out of Welsh-Ryan.

“Let’s hope the area just doesn’t start dying.”

 Then next came the mansion, which brought on a frown.

“Why don’t they just tear that old Harley Clarke down?

“It’s well past its prime, and it’s seen its hay day

Art center? Frat house? Destroy it, I say.”

“But we can re-use it; what’s old is what’s new.

“Books, education – there’s so much to do

“To this lovely old mansion, for history’s sake –

“Everyone can learn in this home by the lake.”

Then someone mentioned the new Robert Crown

With its massive white walls and no grass there around.

Everything’s turf now, but on the inside

Are two massive ice rinks where skaters will glide.

An up-to-date library and multi-flex space –

Maybe even the nay-sayers would give it some grace.

The air then did tingle – a bit of a frisson –

TG leaned closer, the better to listen.

Of hot-button items here there is no lack.

Would a fight then ensue or would they fall back

And remember that everyone’s in the same mess?

How things will end up now is anyone’s guess.

Everyone’s point of view is, of course, right

But seasonal magic won over the night.

These folks quit their quarrel, then toasted with cheer

To kicking the can down the road one more year.

Evanston has lots of problems, it’s true,

And talking them out is a good thing to do.

But there’s no better place to live, work and play –

Vociferous talk is the Evanston way.

Well, that was enough; it was time now to leave.

Grosse Point sent its beam though the crepuscular eve.

The hope for the future, our North Star, that light.

“‘With malice toward none,’ sure Old Abe was right,”

TG exclaimed ere he slunk out of sight,

“Happy New Year to all, and to all a good night.”