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When I was a kid, every Christmas Eve my father would read to me and my brothers the poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” more commonly known as “’Twas the Night Before Christmas.”

It was a family tradition that was passed down to the next generation. I also read the poem, which was first published anonymously in 1823 and later attributed to Clement Clarke Moore, to my own daughter.

But the tradition was mostly held by my father, who read it to his grandchildren, even when they were old enough to not believe in Santa Claus anymore. I remember him reading it to his granddaughters when some were in college or high school at the time. It was a bonding experience that the grandchildren didn’t want to let go of until my father was no longer able to perform the task.

According to Wikipedia, the poem has been called “arguably the best-known verses ever written by an American” and is largely responsible for some of the conceptions of Santa Claus from the mid-19th century to today. It has had a massive impact on the history of Christmas gift-giving. Before the poem gained wide popularity, American ideas had varied considerably about Saint Nicholas and other Christmastide visitors. “A Visit from St. Nicholas” eventually was set to music and has been recorded by many artists.

The poem has also been ripped off numerous times and rewritten as political satire or pop culture parody.

Not to be left out, I have penned my own snarky rendition I call “Twas the Night Before Christmas in Pinal.”

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and all through Pinal,

Good will was flowing like a CAP canal.

But water is scarce from our own river’s take,

Showing for residents to come a lot is at stake.

Still, Mark Lamb was all snug in his own sheriff’s cap,

Which he sells online with other merchandise on tap.

Casa Grande was aglow with bright flashing light,

From the latest Border Patrol chase of migrants in flight.

In Coolidge and Eloy they lit up their tower,

To add to their bills from APS for power.

Lucid finally broke ground giving CG a new start,

Let’s just hope it doesn’t become another PhoenixMart.

Local holiday shoppers crowded the stores,

Which was in Chandler because ours shut their doors.

Pinal politicians all in their cowboy hats,

Settled into their meetings for much-needed naps.

When out on I-10 there arose such a clatter,

Commuters rubbernecked to see what was the matter.

Traffic was backed up, and detours made ready,

For Saint Nick was arriving in a semi made steady.

Most drivers wished he had arrived by plane,

At least until I-10 gets a third lane.

Santa did bring one major gift for us all to bank.

It was water from elsewhere for which we have Dick Powell to thank.

A pipeline with excess H2O to store.

As long as we don’t clamor for more.

And he exclaimed as he drove his truck out of sight.

Merry Christmas to all, you can now weather the plight.


You can contact Andy Howell at


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