RICHMOND >> 'Twas five days before Christmas and all through the house

Every creature was stirring, thus scaring the mouse.

The cards were all hung, Scotch-taped with great care

While everyone's credit card felt pretty bare.

The children tried nestling so snug in their beds,

But visions of grownups oft danced in their heads.

They'd seen all those men and the lady in red

Talk of shooting and bombing, till thousands were dead.

So when Mama and Papa settled in for the night,

They knew they'd be up soon, dealing with fright.

Then out on their lawn there arose such a clatter,

The whole family rose to see what was the matter.

They flew to the window in one stumbling mad dash,

Anxious to see what on earth had gone crash.

Is it guns, is it robbers, is it Putin or Isis?

Ah, no, just a bear – not a huge crisis.

The moon was so bright they could see him quite well,

Crunching on bird seed till Mom rang her bell.

At the sound, he stopped eating and ambled away

But they knew he'd return on a quieter day.

They closed down the window and went back to bed,

Where bright busy brains returned to the dread

Created by guys who yearned to be president

Each of them mongering fear without precedent.

When Mama tucked them all in, she saw with a start,

That all of her children had fear in their heart.


It's some men on TV, the oldest one said.

They want lots of bombs, they want little kids dead.

She gave a great sigh, wondering what to do now,

When men running for office just didn't know how.

It wasn't their business to scare people to death,

The very idea made her struggle for breath.

Fear, as she knew, was what made people weak,

It had made her quite angry to hear those guys speak.

We'll get a new leader, she told the three tots,

A person who loves you and our country whole lots.

She thought of two girls with the last name Obama;

Their dad saw to things, without so much drama.

It might not be perfect, but so few things would be,

She'd put her faith in that man in D.C.

But, said the oldest, this is still very scary,

Can we still spend our Christmas just being merry?

Will Santa be too scared to be flying around?

Never happen, she said, he'll be here with a bound.

And come down the chimney, the littlest said,

He'll land on the roof when I'm in my bed.

Clapping her hands, she wanted to know

If he'd manage okay without any snow.

He's the same as the mailman, her mommy replied,

Quoting the motto with the tot at her side,

"Neither snow nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night"

Keeps Santa from taking his Christmas Eve flight.

So put your worries aside, we're in the Bay State,

Where people keep calm and carry on great.

Santa's jolly and round, but he moves like a flash,

He'll fill all your stockings and then make a dash

For the sleigh on the roof and the tiny reindeer

Who bring planet earth such a barrel of cheer.

And if you were awake, though you shouldn't be,

You'd hear him shout out as his sleigh clears our tree,

On Dancer, on Prancer, on Rudolph and Vixen,

On Cupid, on Donner, on Dasher and Blitzen,

Then faintly, so faintly, as they fly out of sight,

"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night."

Ruth Bass hangs her stocking in Richmond. Her web site is