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Christmas coming

Yvonne Delaney Mitchell | 12/21/2011, 6:24 p.m.

'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. (We don't have any mice, thank goodness!) The stockings were hung by the chimney with care (I am a New York City girl; we don't have a chimney, at least not in the traditional sense) in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there. (While we're on the subject of St. Nicholas, when are we going to start seeing some St. Nicholases of color?)

The children were nestled all snug in their beds while visions of sugarplums danced in their heads (you know that's right). And mama in her kerchief and I in my cap (how about a do-rag?) had just settled down for a long winter's nap. (Long winter's nap, I wish. I'm lucky if I get six hours in.)

When out on the lawn (there you go again-I told you, we're city folk. Do you mean out on the sidewalk?) there arose such a clatter; I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter. (Well, this I know. It's either the guy pushing the shopping cart down the street at 2 o'clock in the morning, people laughing as they come in from a party or someone's illegal car alarm going off.) 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 new-fallen snow (before the dogs got to it) gave the luster of midday to objects below. When what to my wondering eyes should appear but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer. (Reindeer in the ghetto? This I've got to see.)

With a little old driver, so lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick. More rapid than eagles his coursers they came, and he whistled and shouted and called them by name! (Yo, my man!)

"Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen! On, Comet! On, Cupid! On, Donner and Blitzen! (Blitzen! Don't you mean Rasheed?) To the top of the porch! To the top of the wall! Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away, all!" (Watch out for the police, they may think you've stolen something.)

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly when they meet with an obstacle mount to the sky, so up to the house-top the coursers they flew, with the sleigh full of toys and St. Nicholas too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof the prancing and pawing of each little hoof. (Actually, it's the guy next door who has a pigeon coop on the roof.) As I drew in my head and was turning around, down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound. (Do you mean he came out of the incinerator room?)

He was dressed all in fur (watch out for the anti-fur activists, they're everywhere) from his head to his foot (dressed in fur from head to toe, ooh la la), and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot. A bundle of toys he had flung on his back and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack. (Peddlers we know about.)