Monday, December 22, 2014

Annual Christmas Poem For Our Local Officials

This column originally appeared in The Sun Chronicle on Monday, December22, 2014

By Bill Gouveia

          Almost everyone has their own special Christmas traditions.  Should you decide to read further, you will discover one of mine.  Proceed at your own risk.

            Nearly every Christmas I share with you good readers my latest rendition of perhaps the most famous holiday poem ever.  Of course, I adapt it to reflect the love and emotion we all hold for our various local officials – and that would include me.

It is my way of thanking the dedicated and devoted public servants who give of their time and energy to make our local governments work.  Or at least, that’s what I tell everyone.  The truth is they keep me stocked with column material, and it’s just a lot of fun.

So with apologies again to the late Clement Moore, I do hereby submit for your reading pain or pleasure my version of “T’was The Night Before Christmas”…

T’was the night before Christmas, and town halls were still,
The leaders were home now, and full of good will.
Attleboro city councilors put their differences aside
And all headed out on a nice school bus ride.

The taxpayers were settled all snug in their beds,
While nightmares of overrides danced in their heads.
Your favorite local columnist was working away,
Preparing a masterpiece to be read Christmas Day.

Then from just outside there came a loud boom
That shook all the TV’s I had in the room.
I ran to the front door and opened it wide,
And gazed in amazement at what was outside.

The moonlight was reflecting, making all things aglow,
As expensive salt was poured on the streets down below.
When suddenly, slicing through the night so grey,
Were five people riding in a football shaped sleigh.

They were arguing and voting, and splitting 3-2.
They were Foxboro selectmen (it’s just what they do).
They had presents for officials, such good little elves.
They were ticked there was nothing in the sleigh for themselves.

To North Attleboro selectmen, they delivered some notes
That Santa was running out of those override votes.
They also left selectmen a few lumps of coal,
And said a split tax rate should be their new goal.

Over Plainville they almost fell out of the sleigh
When they saw that new slot parlor where people will play.
Plainville’s gift was new revenue to keep taxes low,
Which Foxboro could have had, but selectmen said No.

For Norton officials, they had quite a gift -
A new solar farm that has caused a big rift.
For Wrentham citizens, that gift was much harder
Now that they have a new bright shiny charter.

For Mansfield selectmen, they swooped down like a vulture
And pulled any signs that were not of our culture.
For those who love going out and getting drunk quicker,
They brought 11 new licenses for folks to serve liquor.

Rep. Barrows got a gift that just made his day -
A woman called to discuss getting fair equal pay.
Rep. Poirier no longer has that quite angry frown,
Because they made sure no visiting reps come to her town.

For Bishop Feehan High, they brought something neat –
They get their own driveway, complete with a street.
Area food shoppers will get bargains galore
As they finally open that Market Basket store.

They swung through Rehoboth to hand out Christmas greetings,
And warn school officials about stacking Town Meetings.
They found Seekonk selectmen all wearing a grin
As they sat on their bar stools, just being sworn in.

They saw me, and their look was not one of elation -
They looked like they’d seen an OML violation.
In executive session, they then took a vote
To totally ignore anything I ever wrote.

They finished their business and emptied their sleigh,
Waved (not with all fingers) and then dashed away.
They rode off repeating their now familiar refrain:
“There’s no way we’re letting Bob Kraft have that train!”

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone.

Bill Gouveia is a local columnist, town official, husband, parent, grandfather, and terrible poet.  He wishes you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, and can be reached at and tweeted at @billinsidelook.

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