The Night Before
by David E. Booker
With a nod to the original
‘Twas the night before Christmas and all around the place
Not a customer was left, then in popped his face.
Cash was counted — We were almost out of there
Santa Claus was coming, so we had no time to spare.
The face had a sax and music on his mind.
We didn’t care; some of us had presents still to find.
He floated about the room, from the front to the back
As if he were looking for a place to lay his shiny sax.
The manager stepped forth and tried to shoo him away.
“Go on, be gone. It’s almost Christmas Day.
“We’ve fed all our customers. We have nothing left to give.
“Then you float it as if our walls were a sieve.”
He seemed not the least bothered as he continued to float
Then he brought the sax to his lips and played a few notes.
Then out came a song: kind of mournful and slow
And when he was done, the manager said, “Go, go, go.”
But the man did not stop; he continued to play.
And he played and he played until it was Christmas Day.
Though he had no lungs, he could belt out those tunes
“White Christmas,” “Silent Night,” the notes filled out the room.
“Frosty the Snowman” and “Rudolf” were next.
Soon we were all listening and the manager was perplexed.
“We can’t leave you here. The Health Code won’t allow.
“You have to leave us now or else I’ll have a cow!”
But the Sax man kept playing on up to the light of dawn
And somewhere along the way we started singing each song.
If we had forgotten the lyrics, we hummed our best
Or some of us made up words or took our best guess.
The room was filled with magic as our voices cracked about:
Off key, out of sync, and one of us sang like he would shout.
Still the words and music filled the room with a new light
That carried us to places long forgotten on this night.
Then sunlight snuck in, signaling it was Christmas Day
We watched golden light through glass doors flow our way.
We tuned back to the Sax man, but he was already gone
Back into the magic moment which comes with every song.
We put on our jackets and said our good-byes.
We hugged and sighed and few of us had dry eyes.
The manager smiled as he wished us Merry Christmas
And we all felt a bit of renewed kindness within us.
What happened next has been only speculation
But the sax lay on a table, to the manager’s consternation.
He scanned the room for the head that went with it.
The sax had ribbon round as if meant for gift, give it.
He picked up the saxophone and placed it to lips
He blew a short note; it sounded like a quip.
He blew again and again, doing his very best.
As they say, it is history, so we’ll let the story rest.
Except this extra note I now will propose:
Some say it was the manager the Sax man choice.
I say it was the manager who choice to pick up the sax
And the music he now makes fills something that he lacked.
Either way, that’s our story of music on Christmas Eve.
You can take it or not; it’s up to you to believe.
But if you come by this Christmas Eve to get a bite to eat,
You might find your voice moving to the Sax man and his beat.