Farm Collector


3531 Tea Street N.W., Washington 7, D.C.

It was the night before Christmas and the Four Twenty-Six
Had come to the pit in a terrible fix.
Her flues were all leaking, her grates would not shake,
And something was radically wrong with the brake.

The hostler was cussin’ I mean he said ‘Pshaw’
The machinist was handing out big bundles of jaw.
The moon on the bosom of old mother earth
Made each fellow long to be home by his hearth.

When out in the office, there arose such a clatter
I hurried right out to see what was the matter.
When what to ray wondering eyes should appear
But our little old foreman, receiver at ear.

But the way he was roaring through that telephone
Would make old Niagara sound like a faint moan.
‘No you can’t have her’, were the first words I
Then from over the wire came a long-drawn-out word.

Then back through the phone went a sneer and a hiss
And words that to me sounded something like this:
If my two-year-old kid did not know more than you
Or for that matter, all of your pen-pushin’ crew,

I’d lull him to sleep with a shot in the arm
And keep him that way where he’d do no more harm.
I’ll give you that engine at ten forty-five
And if you call up again I’ll skin you alive.

He just had hung up and was turning around
When in through the doorway there came with a bound,
The call-boy, a switchman and ‘Slim’ the hog head
They came to inform him the switch engine’s dead.

He spoke not a word there was nothing to say,
But hastened to get the gang out of the hay.
And finally, by raring and tearing and swearing
He managed to get them to do some repairing.

With this matter settled, he sought his arm chair
In hopes it would keep him from tearing his hair.
But alas for our hopes with engines about
He was roused from his chair by a terrible shout.

He sprang to the door and then almost threw a fit
For an engine was piled in the turntable pit.
But his despair and his anger were soon put aside.
For in through the doorway there came with a slide.

A funny old fellow so lively and quick
He knew in a moment it must be Saint Nick.
‘Pray be of good cheer’, were the first words he
‘I’ve brought you a present from one who is dead.’

It’s a gift from St. Peter, who keeps Heaven’s
Now I must be going; I’m two hours late.’
The foreman then carefully opened his gift
And the words that he read gave his spirits a lift.

‘To each roundhouse foreman this glad Christmas Eve
I’m sending a present I hope you’ll receive.
It’s a pass into Heaven for each one of you
With the privilege of bringing your family in, too.’

‘I’ve seen all your woes from my seat on high
And I know you’re deserving of peace when you die.
I give it with pleasure, it’s all I can do
Till the day when the blast of Gabe’s trumpet calls

‘Then I’ll welcome you in for eternity’s stay,
When your troubles are ended forever and aye.
So in spite of your troubles, pray be of good cheer
Merry Christmas to you and a Happy New Year.’

  • Published on Jan 1, 1962
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