(for Hank Reinhardt)

Said Reinhardt to Old Santa.
I’ll help you out this year!
Deliv’ring toys
To girls and boys
And spreading Christmas Cheer!

Said Santa to Old Reinhardt,
“I’m glad you came along.
I simply lack
Someone to pack
My sack – but you look strong.”

So Santa took Hank Reinhardt
Inside his store yard gate.
Said “Pack it tight
And get it right.
And rush! I can’t be late!”

As soon as Santa left him,
Hank Reinhardt toured the ground;
Saw toys in piles
For miles and miles
And miles and miles around.

“I have,” said Hank, “a job here.
But Reinhardts never slack.
A jillion toys
For girls and boys
All crammed in one small sack.”

So Henry went right to it
With speed and strength combined
And packed that sack
For Jill and Jack
With all that he could find.

And when the bag was bulging
And nothing more would fit,
He saw a tall
Child’s basketball
That he’d left out of it.

He emptied that old toy bag
And packed it up again.
This time left out:
A doll (with pout).
Hank gave a rueful grin.

Six times Hank Reinhardt packed it.
Six times was something left.
Hank Reinhardt swore
And stomped the floor,
And contemplated theft.

But no! For children counted
On Santa, Christmas morn.
To let one down
And cause a frown?
Hank’s purpose was reborn!

At last, old Santa found him
Collapsed upon the floor.
A wagon there,
Unpacked with care.
Said Hank, “This is a chore.”

Claus pulled out a second sack,
One that would hold a lot.
“Why, silly me!
Ha! Ha! Hee! Hee!
I guess I just forgot.”

Reinhardt made a snarling noise.
Said Santa, “Hank, don’t whimper!
As one grows old
The mind grows cold.”
Said Hank: “But not the temper.”

But Christmas Spirit did prevail
For every childhood faction.
And Hank himself
Played Christmas elf,
While Santa was in traction.

Macabre art by Roy Coker