‘Twas the Night Before a Christmas Outage’
Adapted by Rob Roedel and Sandy Trantham from “The Night Before Christmas” by Clement C. Moore
Christmas is a time for nostalgia as we remember those magical holidays, especially when we were children. In 2000, Christmas was a very challenging time for Arkansans and the electric co-ops as back-to-back ice storms devastated the electric grid, leaving thousands without power. In 2002, the memories of that storm were still very fresh when Rob Roedel and Sandy Trantham from the Arkansas statewide co-op association penned this adaptation of the famous “The Night Before Christmas” poem by Clement C. Moore, complete with Willie Wiredhand, the official electric co-op mascot. While we certainly hope we don’t see ice storms of that magnitude anytime soon, we are sharing this again because it provides an excellent example of the dedication of your electric co-ops’ employees. We will be there for you any time of the day or night, making sure we keep the lights on.
Twas the night before Christmas and all through the state;
Not a creature was stirring, there was nothing to debate.
The rights of way had been cleared by the men with care;
Just in case a big ice storm like 2000 should appear.
The cooperative members were nestled in their beds;
While visions of the cooperative principles danced in their heads.
Voluntary and Open Members, a crucial decree;
Democratic Member Control, meaning the cooperative belongs to you and me.
Members’ Economic Participation results in equal contribution;
Autonomy and Independence lets each member control their institution.
Education, Training and Information ensures that people are in the know;
Cooperation among Cooperatives allows everyone to assist in the event of snow; and
Concern for the Community is perhaps the most vital, as we all know.
When out of the sky there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my 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 of the breast of the new fallen snow,
Gave the luster of mid-day to objects below.
I reached for the light switch and gave it a turn;
The power was out, I quickly did learn.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a digger-derrick truck with eight strapping men and their gear.
With a little old supervisor, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Willie Nick.
More rapid than eagles his linemen they came,
And he whistled and shouted and called them by name:
“Now John! Now Doug! Now Peter and Vance!
Now Bobby, Now Jimmy, Now Don, Bert and Lance!”
To the top of the pole, to the break in the line,
Now climb away, splice away, fix it in time!
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, they raise up to the sky.
So up to the pole-top the linemen they flew,
With the truck full of wire, and St. Willie Nick, too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the lines,
The banging and work and the trimming of pines.
As I drew in my head and was turning around,
Up the pole St. Willie Nick went with a bound.
He was dressed in protective gear, from his head to his toes,
And his hard work was evident by the dirt on his clothes.
A bundle of equipment was hooked to his belt,
And the ice on the power lines just started to melt.
His eyes – how they twinkled – his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His mouth was a thin line, drawn with determination,
He was certain that he would fix the situation.
A line splice and fuse link he held tight in his hands,
Knowing he would again light up the land.
He had a bright smile and a great attitude,
The members would soon be filled with gratitude.
With good training and preparation, he was confident and strong,
The power to homes would be restored before long.
With a wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
He soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
Fixed the situation; then turned with a jerk.
Then laying a finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, his work came to a close.
He brought down the bucket, to his
crew gave a shout,
And away they all drove to the next
But I heard him exclaim as he
drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all, and to
all … you now have light!”