I was feeling in very much a Christmas mood when I penned my column as the editor of a small town paper last year. Many of the names and locations presented here are from in and around Piggott. It went over pretty well, so I thought I’d re-post it here.
THE WEEK BEFORE CHRISTMAS
‘Twas the week before Christmas, when not far from Chalk Bluff
The shopping was finished, we bought so much stuff.
The sidewalks were rolled up in the Piggott downtown,
In hopes that St. Nicholas would be coming around.
The Piggottians were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of pecan-pies danced in their heads;
And mamma in her nightgown, and me in my drawers,
Had locked all our windows and closed all our doors.
When the house it rumbled and shook like a fist,
I jumped out of bed and peeked into the mist.
The New Madrid fault, it ran right below,
I thought we were gonners, and no one would know.
I fell out of the window and onto the ground,
I couldn’t escape the deafening sound.
I’d find some official who’d know what to do,
I’d look for the Mayor, the Aldermen, too.
I walked in a daze to the downtown square,
I wasn’t alone, the whole town was there.
I mingled among them just A Face In The Crowd.
I wanted some answers and said so aloud.
Find Morris, Risinger, or Lingle will do!
Try Birmingham, Poole, and that Mike fella too.
So I climbed up real high, it was just a caboose,
I needed to shout this was important news.
As students who sit in class and snooze,
When they meet with a teacher, gives them the blues.
So I shouted and shouted but no one would hear,
The earth was still shaking the town I hold dear.
Why didn’t the people remember the tale,
Of Reelfoot, Kentucky, I knew it quite well.
The river flowed backwards, trees shot from the ground,
It shook up our neighbors in states all around.
I decided to look for a real man of God,
He’d listen to me, he’d give me a nod.
Up came the preacher with Bible in hand,
And he looked like a singer in a bluegrass band.
His eyes-how they twinkled, his hair looked like a wig,
His voice reassuring, his said this was big.
He said, “This was not the quake as foretold,
Just listen a moment if I might be so bold.
This isn’t a quake, it’s the rapture instead,
Things will get worse, you should go back to bed.”
He walked with a limp and one foot in the grave,
He said, “Now go on, I’ve got people to save.”
He was right and I knew it, a tough price to pay,
But the Caroline theater was gone anyway.
A spring in my step which picked up my pace,
I nearly ran home, it felt like a race.
The wife and the kids I would tell with regret,
This wasn’t the big one, we’d have that one yet.
I grabbed her and kissed her and said we weren’t dead,
She hauled off and slapped me upside of the head.
She hollered “Wake up! You’ve made quite a mess.
The sound you’ve been hearing is the midnight express.”
And I heard the tracks hum as it rolled out of sight,
Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!
The original posting of this column can be found: