‘Twas the night before Christmas, Oh, a Monday no doubt
Schaffhausen lay silent, but for two souls about.
With ice in the air and water like stone,
The watchmakers finally had made their way home.

What a year it had been, "like no other", they’d said, 
Old-timers agreeing with nods of their heads.
“One hundred-plus years tucked away quiet and small, we at times knew for certain that we’d last not at all”, and while the factory now hummed and broke into stride, tonight, of all nights, it lay silent inside.

“Finally!” cried Pellaton, “we’ll now get to see, what the caretakers wrought in these years after me”. “You?” exclaimed Homberger as he glanced all about, “you forget who kept Schaffhausen and Watch on the map?”

As Pellaton turned to offer reply, he cornered a figure out of one eye. “Into the light man, come and be known, let us see who you are, let your face now be shown”.

From out of the shadows a man did emerge, dressed oddly in waistcoat and holding a cane, he stepped off the distance from darkness to light and said, “Pardon me gentlemen if my presence caused fright, but I’m usually alone here on Christmas Eve night”.

“Who are you dear stranger?” asked Homberger surprised, “you seem from a time that is different from mine”. “Indeed I’m a stranger as you so proclaim, but be rest assured sir, I know both of your names”.

He picked up two candles and gave each a light, and took them by leading on this Christmas night, just off the foyer and down a short hall, where he showed them their history displayed on the walls.

Albert and Ernst drew their candles up close and peered through the glass, frozen like ghosts. “Just look at these watches, so many we made, and those made before us, they sit here displayed. Where did they come from and what is this room?” “Why a tribute my friends, to the old and the new, a tribute to many, a tribute to you.”

“Just look at this Ernst, old Watch has survived, indeed from the looks I’d say it has thrived”. “They’ve remembered us Albert, they’ve honored our place, and all who before us, no longer misplaced”.

“But who are you stranger and why are you here, you impart the familiar but much is not clear”.

"My history is vague and not always so kind, what is left now is legend, much truth lost to time. I come here each Christmas to reclaim my heart, for you see my dear friends, I was here at the start.

So as fast fades the night, I’ll be taking my leave, but clearly you see there is nothing to grieve. Though I bid you adieu, it has been my delight, Merry Christmas to you and to all a goodnight".

Terry Russell
Copyright© 2007

Based on Clement Clarke Moore's poem first published 23 December 1823 as  “A Visit from St. Nicholas"

    The Night Before Another IWC Christmas       2007