’Twas the Night Before Christmas ’Twas the night before Christmas and all through the malls there was widespread confusion and hot, frenzied brawls. Many shoppers were wanting the same bloomin’ gifts. Desperation resulted in feud-level rifts. There were four grandmas fighting for one preschool game. Their ferocity made angry pit bulls look tame. Jostling shoppers collided and bags hit the floor. Their attempts to retrieve them caused head butts and more. Loud confusion—“That’s mine!” “No, it’s mine!!”—could be heard. The mortified shoppers heard many a bad word. Two old geezers that should have been home fast asleep bumped into a Santa; all three muttered “BLEEP!” When announcements “Ten minutes till close” hit their ears, those who hadn’t found all they desired held back tears. The nightmare soon ended, tired shoppers went home, Aware that at last no more malls they would roam. Each vowed, “NO MORE last-minute shopping for me!” Christmas morning—well-rested—all smiles by the tree, they remembered the monsters they’d been just last night and rejoiced that those creatures were nowhere in sight! The Christmas Mindset I love the sights and sounds of Christmastime. The gifts, bright decorations, scrumptious meals, cantatas, carolers—all are sublime, all integral to how this season feels. To nurture Christmas thoughts throughout the year, I play my jolly carols in July. In March I may pen lines on Christmas cheer, a wondrous season’s gift we cannot buy. The Christmas spirit is remarkable, too sweet and wonderful to be confined to late December, far too magical to relish briefly—then just leave behind. The Christmas mindset thrives in many hearts long after that grand holiday departs. Quoth My Daddy "Nevermore"! Once upon a midnight chilly, on a ladder feeling silly, to my bedroom up I climbed and through my window slid. Moonlight through my bedroom flickered. To myself I softly snickered, realizing once again my parents—oh, so clueless—did not know my deeds. I heard a knock and under covers hid fearing Dad would blow his lid. In he stormed with nails and hammer; then ensued a fearsome clamor as with seven nails he sealed my window and my fate. Then he wheeled around revealing ire that woke in me a feeling that my days of freely slipping out and sneaking in so late would continue nevermore. Now weekends at home, I hate. I bemoan my sorry state! Valentine's Day, 2019 Six-thirty I got up. I sat and sipped strong coffee while I watched the local news. I then prepared for church. At nine I clipped my toenails. Last, I chose my purse and shoes. Church services were good. That afternoon I did some laundry, watched an episode of "Snapped," ate lunch, and tried to write, but soon grew drowsy and fell into slumber-mode. I practiced with the choir at five. Then I attended preaching services. At eight while watching TV I dozed off on my couch. When I woke up, it was very late. I'm falling silent. I must not say more, for I am certain I just heard you snore. Janice Canerdy is a retired high-school English teacher from Potts Camp, Mississippi. Her poems and prose writings have appeared in several publications, including Society of Classical Poets Journal, Wild Violet, Light Quarterly, The Road Not Taken, Lyric, Parody, Bitterroot, Cyclamens and Swords, Westward Quarterly, Lighten Up Online, Better Than Starbucks, Indiana Voice Journal and Southern Tablet; and anthologies, including those published by the Mississippi Poetry Society, the National Federation of State Poetry Societies, Whispering Angel Books, and Quill Books. Her first book, Expressions of Faith (Christian Faith Publishing), was published in December 2016.