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Editor Paul Osborne

I don’t think anyone is interested in anything “political” this week with Christmas only a few days away. So, with that in mind and the surging COVID variants making another Christmas with the difficult decision on family gatherings for the holiday, I thought the following poem on “A Covid Christmas” by Tom McDonald appropriate material for the City Beat.

Twas the night before Christmas, but Covid was here,

So we all had to stay extra cautious this year.

Our masks were all hung by the chimney with care

In case Santa forgot his and needed a spare.

With Covid, we couldn’t leave cookies or cake

So we left Santa hand sanitizer to take.

The children were sleeping, the brave little tots

The ones over 5 had just had their first shots,

And mom in her kerchief and me in my cap

Had just settled in for a long winter’s nap.

But we tossed and we turned all night in our beds

As visions of variants danced in our heads.

Gamma and Delta and now Omicron

These Covid mutations that go on and on

I thought to myself, “If this doesn’t get better,

I’ll soon be familiar with every Greek letter”.

Then just as I started to drift off and doze

A clatter of noise from the front lawn arose.

I leapt from my bed and ran straight down the stair

I opened the door, and an old gent stood there.

His N 95 made him look pretty weird

But I knew who he was by his red suit and beard.

I kept six feet away but blurted out quick

“What are you doing here, jolly Saint Nick?”

Then I said, “Where’s your presents, your reindeer and sleigh?

Don’t you know that tomorrow will be Christmas Day? “.

And Santa stood there looking sad in the snow

As he started to tell me a long tale of woe.

He said he’d been stuck at the North Pole alone

All his white collar elves had been working from home,

And most of the others said “Santa, don’t hire us!

We can live off the CERB now, thanks to the virus”.

Those left in the toyshop had little to do.

With supply chain disruptions, they could make nothing new.

And as for the reindeer, they’d all gone away.

None of them left to pull on his sleigh.

He said Dasher and Dancer were in quarantine,

Prancer and Vixen refused the vaccine,

Comet and Cupid were in ICU,

So were Donner and Blitzen, they may not pull through.

And Rudolph’s career can’t be resurrected.

With his shiny red nose, they all think he’s infected.

Even with his old sleigh, Santa couldn’t go far.

Every border to cross needs a new PCR.

Santa sighed as he told me how nice it would be

If children could once again sit on his knee.

He couldn’t care less if they’re naughty or nice

But they’d have to show proof that they’d had their shot twice.

But then the old twinkle returned to his eyes.

And he said that he’d brought me a Christmas surprise.

When I unwrapped the box and opened it wide,

Starlight and rainbows streamed out from inside.

Some letters whirled round and flew up to the sky

And they spelled out a word that was 40 feet high.

There first was an H, then an O, then a P,

Then I saw it spelled HOPE when it added the E.

“Christmas magic” said Santa as he smiled through his beard.

Then suddenly all of the reindeer appeared.

He jumped into his sleigh and he waved me good-bye,

Then he soared o’er the rooftops and into the sky.

I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight

“Get your vaccines my friends, Merry Christmas, good-night”.

Then I went back to bed and a sweet Christmas dream

Of a world when we’d finished with Covid 19.

     • DIFFICULT DECISION — As I related during my appearance on WSOY’s Byers & Co. last week, this was going to be the Christmas when every single member of my family had made arrangements to be at our home on Christmas Eve. It isn’t often that happens with our sons and their families spread out with several members in the eastern part of the United States. It was going to be so great to see all of them and listen to what had been happening in their lives.

     Then…COVID-19 raised its ugly head and started surging across the nation and Macon County started having a big increase in new cases and the hospitals started treating the most COVID patients since the Pandemic started nearly 2 years ago.

     I STARTED checking my contact sources in the medical, scientific and healthcare (not Facebook) and I didn’t like what was happening with the spread of the Delta varient and the new Omicron varient, discussed it with my wife, and made the really tough decision to cancel our family Christmas. It was an extremely difficult decision and made me sad in my heart, but once the decision was made and family members notified, I had, and still have, the feeling that it was the right decision.

     The health of our family is the top priority and, with less than half of Macon County residents vaccinated and most of the residents refusing to wear mask or socially distance themselves COVID is going to to get worse in our county before it gets better and we have to reduce our odds of getting it by practicing and implementing caution this holiday season and beyond.

     Every family has to make its own decision about Christmas and holiday gatherings, but, with over 800,000 people not getting together for Christmas this year and last (because of dying from COVID) I don’t want our family gathering to damage the health, or take the life, of any family member (or myself). I want us to have future Christmas gatherings because we were careful this Christmas. I love my sons and their families very much and that’s why, with COVID cases rising, I don’t want to gather with them this Christmas season. It’s not that I don’t want to see them. It’s about protecting them from infection and worse.

     This is two Christmas holidays that have created a lot of isolation for family members — but there will be future, joyous holidays when the Pandemic danger is greatly reduced — or eliminated altogether.

      • STAY SAFE — Our decision on a family gathering this Christmas is not meant to send a message (positive or negative) to anyone reading this column — except, to point out that whatever decision you have made regarding your family and friends getting together you should use some safety precautions and reasonable rules for those attending. A lot more people have died or been extremely sick with COVID than should have happened — especially since we know a lot more about it than we did a year ago. Yet, infections and hospitalizations continue to rise, not only in Decatur and Macon County but many areas of our nation. We have the tools to fight this virus successfully. The question seems to be whether or not we are willing to use those tools and practice some common sense.

     • NOW, having written so much about protective ourselves and others from COVID, let me also express a positive and that is I pray that you and your loved ones will have a safe, meaningful and blessed Christmas. Thank you for your support and encouragement during this difficult year.

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