‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through each Museum and Zoo,
Not a creature was stirring, not even a Chihuly or kangaroo;
The renewals were stacked by the printer with care,
In hopes that St. Membership soon would be there;
The curators were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of esoteric exhibitions danced in their heads;
And Director in her Armani suit, and I in my thinking cap,
Had just settled down from a board member mis-hap;
When out in the lobby there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter.
Away to admissions I flew like a flash,
Tore open the stanchions and displayed premiums in a dash;
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below;
When, what to my computer-fried eyes should appear,
But a group tour bus led by eight tiny reindeer,
With a little old driver, so lively and glee,
I knew St. Membership it must be.
More rapid than members to passed hors d’oeuvres they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! on Cupid! on, Donder and Blitzen!
To the top of the Science Center! to the top of the Exhibit Hall!
Now dash away! dash away! dash away all!”
As the budget depletes with each quarter that does fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, look to the sky,
As over the Planetarium and Aquarium they flew,
With the van full of visitors who all signed up as Members, too!
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the elevator St. Membership came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with Botanic Garden dirt;
A bundle of membership forms he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a postal carrier 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,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow;
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath;
He had an on-site sales rep face and round little belly,
That shook, when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly.
He was friendly yet assertive, a right jolly old elf,
And I hired him for the Membership Desk to help out myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And delivered all the memberships, opening the lock box with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the grand staircase he rose;
He sprang to his magical tour bus, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove in high gear,
“Merry Membership to all, and to all a good year.”