I had a breakfast interview with a woman who referred to herself as “The Queen of the Thesaurus.”  I ordered a synonym roll.

In the spirit of the holiday season, the photo credit for the weekly pictures normally shot with artistic majesty by Kris Hinrichs goes to Kris Kringle:



And the following is a guest piece from Santa Beer (aka Dr. David Ryder.)

'Twas the night before Christmas, at City Lights Brewery
Every creature was thirsty, not a mouse dared to scurry,
The steins were empty, and the cans were too
The beer had been drunk with no time to brew.

My family was nestled all snug in their beds
While visions of Christmas Ale foamed in their heads.
Mom in her kerchief lamented the drought,
She craved a pilsner and I, a stout.

When out on the lawn, there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my chair to see what was the matter.
Away to the kitchen, I flew like a flash,
Opening the door with a loud bang and crash!

I threw on the switch and the lights, all aglow,
Gave a luster of mid-day to the brew-pot below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear
But Gambrinus himself, the patron of beer.

With a look in his eye, so lively and quick,
He said, "You want beer? Well, here, take your pick."
More rapid than eagles, his recipes came
As he whistled and shouted and called them by name.

"Now, Pilsener! Now, Porter! Now, Stout and now Maerzen!
On, Bitter! On, Lager! On, Bock and On Weizen!"
"To the top of the cans, the short and the tall,
Now brew away, brew away, and fill them all!"

As dried hops before a wild hurricane fly,
And then, without warning, settle down with a sigh,
So towards the brew-pot, the ingredients flew,
Malt extract, roasted barley and crystal malt, too.

And then in a twinkling, I heard it quite plain,
The cracking open of each barley grain.
As I drew in my head and was turning around,
Into the brewhouse, he came with a bound.

He was dressed like a knight, from his head to his toes,
With an old family crest adorning his clothes.
A bundle of hops, he had flung on his back,
And the brewing began when he opened his pack.

His hops were so fragrant! His barley, how sweet!
The adjuncts included Munich malt and some wheat.
The malted barley was mashed in the tun,
Then boiled with hops in the brew-pot 'till done.

Excitement had me gnashing my teeth,
As the sweet smell encircled my head like a wreath.
Beer yeast was pitched, both lager and ale,
The wort quickly fermented, not once did it fail.

It was then krausened, or with sugar primed,
And just being canning when midnight had chimed.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know, I'd be shortly in bed.

He spoke not a word but kept on with his work,
And seamed all the cans, then turned with a jerk.
And laying a finger alongside his nose,
He belched (quite a burp!) before he arose.

Clean-up was easy, with only a whistle,
And away the mess flew, like the down on a thistle.

And I heard him exclaim, 'ere he left me the beer, "Merry Christmas to all and a HOPPY New Year!"

May you have the Merriest Christmas ever!