‘Twas the night before Christmas, the village at peace,

Not a creature was stirring, not even Sorice.

The meters had been covered in canvas with care,

A new day with gaming soon would be there.

Food drives and toy drives had filled up the pantries.

Sweet smells were wafting from Ferrara Pan candies.

Plow trucks and bobcats were doing their laps,

While the villagers in Forest Park rested in naps.

When out in the town there arose such a clatter,

I ran to my phone to see what was the matter. 

Not a word from a scanner or village commish,

This was puzzling even to Steven Knysch.

The moon shining down on the new fallen snow,

Gave a luster to our modest village below,

When what to our wondering eyes should appear,

But a gentle kind spirit, with eight tiny reindeer. 

With a generous driver, so lively and quick,

I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.

Without malice or bitterness, pettiness or blame,

He whistled, and shouted and called them by name.

Now! Ed’s Way, Now! Currie, Now! Brown Cow, Now Shortstop! 

On! Schauers, On! Yearbook, On! Kagan, On! Skrine Chop!

Over the bridge! To the top of the mall!

Spreading good tidings around to one and to all!

Just as ol’ Harlem had pioneer visions,

Perhaps we can learn from other opinions?

So up to the house-tops and all over town,

A sleigh bearing gifts, no silence or put-downs.

And then in a twinkling, I heard on the roof,

Some simple, kind words, and nothing aloof.

Most decent citizens listen and trust.

Only a few bring comments that disgust. 

A “done deal” it was, divisive and swift,

So sorry to hear, some townies are miffed.

Hosty’s petition pushed opened some wounds,

He’s just hoping to cash in from gamers and goons.

Some of us are curious how the signage will pass,

While cautiously looking for a snake in the grass. 

Knowing democracy must wait in the wings,

While our Mayor and council tie up loose strings.

Forest Parkers have other worries and cares,

Than to calculate grudges and tally up errors.

Most citizens identify with mutual respect,

Not one who intimidates, ignores or dissects.

So how do we move from bitter to sweet?

Start with this holiday on Madison Street.

This Christmas is coming, and the new year,

St. Nick is about giving, and sharing good cheer.

If you choose not to eat with gaming devices,

In our fine village there are plenty more vices.

Let go of your judgment of the Mayor’s abstain,

May those who gamble, get their happy exclaim.

Let’s ask good questions and have thoughtful replies,

And listen to others, but not let it traumatize.

A scarf from Camille, Fantastic haircut or celebrate with a bowl of creole, 

Perhaps a book from Sleuth, a pair of new shoes, even a pint of Valleau.

We can do more by generating some festive yule,

Then focus on retention at our elementary schools.

And with our holidays and new year in sight

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

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