A Holiday Tale

A Visit from PennBeast

(’Twas the Night before Christmas)
Profuse Apologies to Clement C. Moore

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the state
Not a forest was stirring, not even Bald Pate.

The farms were all sleeping and mulched with great care,
In hopes that in springtime new plants would be there.

The land trusts were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of ‘Keep it Green’ danced in their heads.

And Pa in his PJs , and I in my wrap,
Had just settled down with an eggnog night cap.

When out on the lane there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the couch to see what was the matter.

I found in my mailbox that sits on the street,
A letter to us that’d come from PennBeast.

The moon shone a glow on the sender’s intention,
Giving light to their plans, far to gruesome to mention.

When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a Western Land Agent, with surveying gear.

With a sneaky ol’ driver, disturbing the peace,
I knew in a moment it must be PennBeast.

We knew he could hide behind  Gas Acts and FERC,
So we rolled up our sleeves and got right down to work

“On Homeowners! Townships! And NJCF!
On Watershed ! Pinelands! Let’s ReThink this pest!

From the press to the courtroom! To the town meeting hall!
We’ll get him to go away, once and for all!

But right up to the house-tops the surveyors flew,
With cameras they’d watched us, in day and night too.

And then, in a moment, I heard on the roof
The clawing and gnawing of each dirty hoof.

As I took my eyes off them, and was turning around,
Down the chimney that Old PennBeast came with a bound.

 He was dressed all in soot, from his head to his toes.
And he smelled of mercaptan that clung to his clothes.

A bundle of contracts he had in his sack,
And he looked like a burglar, just opening his pack.

His eyes-how they glared! His scowl oh so scary!
His cheeks were so sallow, and not at all merry!

His tight little mouth was drawn up in a sneer,
As he tried to assure us there was nothing to fear.

The plan for a pipeline he held tight in his fist,
While the fumes it would promise descended like mist.

He was grumpy and pushy, a quite nasty old elf,
And I cringed when I saw him, in spite of myself!

We stared in his eyes till’ the scoundrel did flinch,
This mean interloper, less Santa than Grinch.

We didn’t back down and we kept at our work,
Fighting ‘til we would rid the whole state of this jerk.

And while he was pompously thumbing his nose,
We gave him the boot, and up the chimney he rose!

He ran to his trucks, to his team howled an order,
And away they all scrammed past the NJ border.

We all yelled out with glee, ‘ere he fled out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!”

From Everyone at HTCAPP,
Much JOY, HOPE, and PEACE this Holiday Season!


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