A Cooperative Christmas Poem
(originally appeared in the First Alternative Thymes, December 2015)
T’was an eve' in December and all through the store,
our stockers were stocking the merry sales floor.
Fair trade woolens were displayed with great care,
knowing that smart shoppers soon would be there.
As bundled-up children pushed tiny carts,
visions of the dinner warmed parents’ hearts.
In Produce and Grocery, in Deli and Bulk,
the store was all ready for the all the festive folk.
When out in the parking lot there arose such a clatter,
we ran down the aisles to see what was the matter.
Toward Customer Service we flew in great haste,
to look out the window where special orders are placed.
The moon on the lot and the new fallen snow,
gave the luster of midday to an incredible show.
A conveyance of which we’d never seen the likes;
a candy cane Tesla drawn by eight reindeer on bikes!
With a little old driver, so lively and vocal,
we know in a moment it must be our beloved St. Local.
More rapid than the Willamette, her bikers they came,
as she whistled, shouted, and called them by name!
“Now Kale, now Chard, now Ginger and Green Beans!
On Spinach! On Radish! On Celery and Beet Greens!
To the roof of the building, the top of the Co-op!
I’ll make a grand entrance, then I'll go for a shop!”
As dry leaves before the the valley winds fly,
meeting an obstacle and mounting the sky.
So up to the store-top the reindeer they sped,
with St. Local and her cool electro-pedal sled.
And then, in a twinkling, we heard on the roof,
the unmounting of bikes and the stamping of hoof.
We drew our heads with shock right around,
as down a chimney St. Local came with a bound.
She was dressed all in tie-dye from her head to her foot;
and her clothes they were covered in bits of beet root.
A fur-lined tote bag hung empty at her side,
as she looked at our products, beaming with pride.
Her eyes how they twinkled, her dimples how merry!
Her cheeks were like roses, her nose like an organic cherry!
Her droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
her braided lower-back length ponytail white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe held tight in her teeth,
told politely “no smoking on Co-op property,” she returned it to its sheath.
She had a kindly sort of face and was really quite fit,
to the healthful, active life, she quite clearly did commit.
With the humble care you'd expect of a St. Local,
she made a Giving Tree donation, just saying “Some folk'll.”
I say, “Whatever you’re looking for, don’t be afraid to ask it.
Here you go, my coworker's brought you a basket.”
She said "thanks" and went straight to the shopping,
getting all sorts of fresh, local, organic goods 'fore stopping.
At the checkout, after revealing she was a Co-op Owner,
St. Local ran up the Wellness aisle, saying "I forgot toner!"
After checkout, reusable bags and boxes packed up,
she grabbed her Beans for Bags tokens from the register cup.
then, donations made, back up the chimney she flew
leaving us to wonder, "we have a chimney, who knew?"
She sprang to her sleigh, her team ready and hopping,
they took to the air to continue their local holiday shopping.
But we heard her exclaim 'ere she flew from our sight,
"It's the cooperative spirit that helps us take flight!"
From Christmas Eve to Boxing Day, from Hanukkah to Yule,
from Kwanzaa to Saturnalia and St. Lucia Day too,
Whatever you celebrate, whoever you are, whatever you do
at First Alternative Natural Foods Co-op, we welcome you!