Stephen F. Austin State University

Christmas Eve Rain

Christmas Eve Rain

On Labor Day weekend of 2011 I was preparing to start my new position as the Tourism Director for Jefferson, Texas. I was excited and looking forward to starting my job but Mother Nature threw us all a curve. The wildfires of 2011 put tourism on the back burner as we dealt with the immediate danger. We converted the Jefferson Visitor Center into an emergency shelter for those who had lost their homes in rural Marion County. Families, dogs and even an incubator of baby chicks were welcomed into the Visitor Center.

As the wildfires reached the west side of Highway 59, there was a great concern that the flames would jump the highway and devastate Jefferson. We were all ready to evacuate if need be. It was a surreal experience to look at the sky as dark as any thunderstorm and see the ashes floating like snowflakes over Historic Jefferson.

The days seemed endless but the community pulled together, the fires never reached Jefferson and the fires were subdued. A few months later, on Christmas Eve, I wrote this poem.

Christmas Eve Rain

The shopping was over, the Christmas parties too
Toys for tots given out and the train rides were through
People were home with family and friends
All anticipating the Big Day to begin

I sat and listened to the sound of the rain
Watching the droplets roll down the pane
Nobody dreams of a Christmas that's wet
But remember last summer, how can we forget

Those 40 consecutive 100 plus days
The fires of September that ravaged and razed
When ashes and smoke choked out the sky
The ground like a moonscape, cracked open and dry

Rivers turned to creeks and creeks were just gone
Pastures turned brown and so did the lawns
The faces in shelters, that lost everything
And those of my neighbors, of what tomorrow would bring

The forests, farms and homes that we lost
Personal treasures, you can't measure the cost
The unceasing inferno that brought so much pain
When we'd give anything for one drop of rain

So as the kids get excited, the adults reminisce
And sweethearts with mistletoe steal a quick kiss
As the showers continue, you won't hear me complain
About the precious gift of a Christmas Eve Rain

© 2012, Jeffrey Campbell
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.