’Twas the deadline for Christmas, when all through the house
Not a computer was on, not even a mouse;
The files were saved in the drive with care,
In hopes that writer soon would be there;
The sports department were nestled all snug in their beds;
While visions of football games danced in their heads;
And Meri in her ’kerchief, and Steve by her side,
Had just settled to down to work while inside.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
Steve leaped to his feet and had to see what was the matter.
Away to the window he flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave a lustre of midday to objects below,
When what to his wondering eyes did appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny rein-deer,
With a driver so lively and quick, with a towel,
He knew in a moment he must be John Howell!
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called each of the publications, known by his name.
“Now Beacon, Now Herald, Now Sun Rise and Reminder,
On Rhody Beat, On Rhody Prints and yonder,
Off to print! Finish things all!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky;
So down Warwick Avenue the coursers they flew
With the sleigh full submissions, and John Howell too—
He had a distinguished face and a little thin belly
That shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of frozen jelly.
He was gray and mature, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filed all the stories; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, out of the office he rose;
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight—
“Happy Christmas to all, and to we made deadline tonight!”
This poem recognizes 50 years of Beacon Publications ownership by John Howell.