‘Twas the night before Christmas, and throughout the net,
not a modem was chirping; (It wasn’t mail-hour yet).
The peripherals down and backed up with care,
In hopes that St. Echo soon would be there.
The grad students home all snug in their beds,
with hi-res dreams abuzz in their heads.
We Sysops lounged by the terminal’s glow,
With occasional bursts of RF snow.
When from the hard drives there came such a clatter,
To the consoles we sprang to see what was the matter.
The monitor cleared, then flashed red and green,
as we hunched in our chairs around the machine.
When what to our wondering eyes should appear,
but VGA graphics of a sleigh and reindeer,
with a bitmapped driver, a lively old fellow,
I knew right away it must be St. Echo.
Faster than mnp his packets they came,
and he whistled and shouted as he called them by name:
"Now, Arpa! now, Bitnet! now, Opus and D-Comm!
On, CC:Mail and Fido and SEAdog and TComm!
Over Watts and Pursuit, via long-distance call,
Now hack away, hack away, hack away all!
As fast as the switching that sends them about,
When they meet with a BUSY, change to "host route",
So onto the mailer, and protocol sync,
when the RD and SD lights ceased to blink.
There off the screen, I saw a reflection,
and turned ’round to look in the other direction.
Right there behind us, amidst the tech-toys,
Had appeared St. Echo, with not even a noise.
Wearing a grimy red jumpsuit from his feet to his beard,
None but a techie could look that weird.
Odd bits of surplus hung out of his sack,
that bulged at odd angles slung over his back.
His eyes did .twinkle, though somewhat bleary,
from staring at monitors, yet still quite merry.
the corners of his mouth were turned up in a ,
and a scraggly grey beard hung down from his chin.
A ‘486 portable in his left hand was held,
and a cellular modem was strapped to his belt.
I d to see him, this overweight gnome,
he settled down by the CP, as if it ’twere home.
A flip of the toggles, and a tug on his beard,
soon showed us that he was not to be feared.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to work,
filled all empty sockets, then with a swift jerk,
replaced a few boards inside the machine,
turned it back on and checked it out clean.
The screen cleared once more, flashed green and red,
as he faded from sight he (wave)d and said;
"Keep the net singing, and I’ll always be near,
Merry Christmas to all, and a Happy New Year!"