Since learning of the Denver Voice a few years ago I have been a supporter of the work they are do and the vendors doing it. For those of you unaware of the Denver Voice, it is a monthly paper established to address the problem of homelessness in our city. The following is the mission statement of the Denver Voice copied from their website......
Mission Statement To facilitate a dialogue addressing the roots of homelessness by telling stories of people whose lives are impacted by poverty and homelessness and to offer economic, educational and empowerment opportunities for the impoverished community.
The vendors on the street provide the paper for a suggested donation of $2. From that $2, $0.50 goes to the paper and $1.50 goes to the vendor. I can’t tell you how many papers I’ve purchased, but I can tell you until this year I had read very few.
Earlier this year I picked up a paper from a vendor that told me to make sure I read his poem which was featured in that month’s issue. Since then I have made a point of not only purchasing the paper, but to read its contents. In the December issue there is an adaptation of the story “Twas the Night Before Christmas” written by Voice vendor Brian Augustine. Here is Brian’s version of the classic Christmas tale……
‘Twas the night before Christmas,
We were all under some trees.
Not a creature was stirring, not even Ken’s fleas.
All of our stockings were changed with care
to ward off the icy winter air.
Others in homes were all snug in their beds
while visions of warm food danced in their heads.
But ma in her Coleman and I in my wrap
had just settled down for a cold winter’s nap.
When out in the field, there was such a clatter,
I rose to see if police asked us to scatter.
I ran to the bushes and laid down flat,
I zipped up my coat and pulled down my hat.
The glow from street lights on the new fallen snow
gave the luster of midday to the field below.
When to what did my wandering eyes did appear,
but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.
And a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be Saint Nick.
More rapid then jets, his courses they flew,
he whistled and shouted and called them by name.
“Now, Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On Comet! On, Cupid! On, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the bridge! To the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”
As dry leaves that before a wild hurricane fly,
when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky,
so up to the overpass the courses they flew,
with a sleigh full of gifts, and St Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the turf
the dancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew back my head, and was turning around,
across the field St Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of gifts he had flung on his back,
and he looked like a peddler 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 his beard, like mine, was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe, in his teeth he did hold,
and the smoke puffed out like my breath in the cold.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
that shook when he laughed like a bowl full of jelly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
and I laughed when I saw him in spite of 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 sleigh,
and brought us some food and nice treats on a tray.
Then he put his hand gently atop of our hair,
looked in our eyes and told us he really did care.
He gave us knit hats and scarves, warm woolen socks,
Gift cards for fast food and groceries, all in a box.
All the gifts he did give us, I cannot say.
It surprised us, all that came from one sleigh.
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim as he drove out of sight,
“Happy Christmas to all and to all a good night.”
Brian then adds this paragraph at the end…
“I wrote this out of love of this story. I did change some words and added one part. But I left in the meaning. We vendors from the street papers are lucky, for we see Santa everyday in the eyes of our customers and friends.”
Hopefully this story will touch you and remind you of the true spirit of the Christmas season, as it did for me. And, if you’re about town and see the vendors of this paper stop and say hi and pick up a paper. The people of the Denver Voice do a great and this is a cause worthy of your support.
May God bless you Brian Augustine and Merry Christmas!
If you’d like to find out more about the Denver Voice here is a link to their website…http://www.denvervoice.org/