‘Twas the night before Christmas and at the state house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse;
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that the Legislature soon would be there;
Arthur Blank was nestled all snug in his bed,
While visions of seat licenses danced in his head;
And mom in her Falcons jersey, and I in my cap,
Had just settled down for a long winter’s nap,
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the cul de sac showed
Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But the World Congress Authority and Zell Miller.
With little old Zell, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment the taxpayers they’d stick.
More rapid than Falcons Zell’s coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, Reed! now, Nathan! now, Ralston and Cagel!
On, Lowe! on Poe! On, Yancey and Russell!
To the top of the Dome! To the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”
As Julio Jones behind the secondary flies,
When he meets with an obstacle, mounts to the sky,
So up to the Capitol the politicians they flew,
Seeking a sleigh full of millions, for Mr. Blank too.
And then, in a twinkling, I read in my paper
About the prancing and pawing of each legislator.
As I drew in my hand, and was turning around,
Down the chimney Zell came with a happy bound.
He was geared up in Falcon, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of promises he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a shill just opening his pack.
His eyes — how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
For his job was to convince us our tax dollars to blow;
The plan is a stadium all shiny and new!
A retractable dome with fancy sky boxes too;
We need it because we just can’t compete,
For Super Bowls, or Final Fours, or even track meets!
Now hold on there, Zell, I said with a smile,
We need infrastructure here; new stadiums can wait for awhile
It’s wider roads, rail and bridges that’ll make metro grow
Alas, said Zell, it was put to a vote, the taxpayers said no!
On this new scheme Zell promised Kasim was on board,
Thrilled by the free luxury seats he will hoard;
The rest of the pols, they’ll get in for naught too!
The price of admission paid by me and by you!
The plan for a stadium, frivolous as it seems,
Trumps new schools and highways and other such dreams!
It’s important, you see, to fund play before work,
So the swells can see games, their responsibilities shirked!
Zell sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like a Matty Ice missile.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
HAPPY CHRISTMAS TO ALL, AND TO ALL A GOODNIGHT!
Kevin Foley is a public relations executive, author and writer who lives in Kennesaw.