by William Needham Finley IV™

Twas the Night before Christmas Inside the Beltline

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Twas the night before Christmas, when inside the beltline,
Not a creature was stirring, thanks to double magnum bottles of wine.

The stockings were hung by the gas-fired chimneys with care,
There was no doubting St. Nicholas soon would be there.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
Out like a light after taking Mom’s sleeping meds.

And Moms wearing lululemon, and Dads chugging another nightcap,
All that time spent with in-laws resulted in a much needed nap.

When out on their group texts there arose such a clatter,
They sprang to their iPhones to see what was the matter.

“There’s a book about Santa,” the group texts said,
“And the title is the most offensive thing you’ve ever read.”

Away to their timelines they flew like a flash,
Refreshing Insta, Facebook, and Twitter, they came upon this trash.

The pictures they saw were as clear as new-fallen snow,
A book titled “Santa is coming to Raleigh-Durham”, who would stoop so low?

With an absurd title, so incorrect and dumb,
They knew in a moment where the author was from.

Not Raleigh, nor Durham, or anywhere near,
This was the work of an outsider, that much was clear.

More rapid than eagles the likes and comments they came,
Everyone agreed that “Raleigh-Durham” isn’t a name.

Those from Raleigh and Durham, or anyone with a clue,
Are sick and tired of outsiders and Forbes combining the two.

We all know those folks are just trying to make a quick buck,
And get tons of pageviews for their websites that suck.

We’d even prefer DrunkTown, although that’s a myth,
Hatem’s gonna hate, just because we like our drinks stiff.

But our biggest fear was that Santa wouldn’t come to a place,
That’s not on a map or anywhere in time and space.

I had to act quickly, there was no time to be aloof,
So I grabbed Dad’s signal flares and went up to the roof.

Before I could light them I heard the sound of a sleigh,
Which didn’t make sense, because it still felt like May.

The sleigh landed on our roof, somewhat lively and quick,
My Insta outrage had been answered, this was the real St. Nick.

I pulled out my iPhone 7 and showed him the pics,
“I thought you’d never find us, because of books like this.”

“Ho, ho, ho, have no fear,” he said with a smile on his face,
“I’m smart enough to know that Raleigh-Durham isn’t a place.”

Those were the words that I had longed to hear,
And from one of my heroes, I almost shed a tear.

“I’d never forget Raleigh, especially ITB,”
But your list was quite long, and a bit greedy.”

“I know I asked for a lot, but I wasn’t trying to be funny,
I need more advertisers for my media empire, it’s how I make money.”

“Very thoughtful indeed, but I’m concerned about page 84,
Where you asked that I “send the Trolley Pubs back to hell, forevermore.”

“Well I need your help there, since Bonner’s hands are tied,
He said he couldn’t ban them and that was even after I cried.”

“I also can’t “protect ITB” with a wall or a moat,
You sound like Trump begging for the xenophobic vote.”

“Well if there’s one thing I want it’s to relive the past,
Please reopen Crowley’s, and this time make it last.”

“I’ll see what I can do, but you’re on thin ice,
You’ve spent most of this year not being very nice.”

“It’s just that these changes in Raleigh are hard to endure,
I’ll try to be better next year, that’s for sure.”

“I believe that you’ll try,” he said as he picked up his sack,
“Just do more for others and I’ll be back.”

I knew this was true as he drove out of sight,
Shouting, “Merry Christmas to ITB, and to Raleigh a good night!”

Here are some ITB charities you can donate to so that Santa comes back next year.

The Raleigh/Wake Partnership to End and Prevent Homelessness
Team Chris Combs to Strikeout ALS
InterAct of Wake County
Me Fine Foundation
YMCA of the Triangle
Inter-Faith Food Shuttle

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