To Steve, Christmas 1998

Your present was purchased from far far away
In an unlucky week, on an unlucky day
The salesman, he told me, no reason for fear
There was plenty of time for a trip there to here
He would personally see that it got on the truck
And that I need not worry, for it would show up.

Then, as I understand, it was picked up that day
UPS truck, it came, took your present away
And that poor UPS man sped off in that truck
With the bestest intentions but worstest of luck.

As he toodled along somewhere near the east coast
His truck suddenly sputtered and gave up the ghost
Now I've heard lots of theories, but one I believe
Is that part of the engine decided to leave
Must have been a loose bolt, or perhaps a loose nut
But the part, it fell off, without if, and, or but
And the truck tried real hard, I think, but this I know
That no matter what it did it just couldn't go
So it ended up stuck, in the deepest of night
On the side of the road - oh, imagine its plight!

UPS men are heroes, we all know it's true
And of course, with good training, he knew what to do
So he took off by foot to bring this thing to you
With no reservations; at least, very few.

Now this thing might be heavy, I really can't say
But certainly heavier by night than by day
And as morning did break o'er the mountains and plains
UPS man was tired and suffering from pains
He kept forging forward, and came to a town
His spirit rose fast, but again it came down
As he realized, at a phone booth, somewhere near Des Moines
That his wallet was back in the truck - with his coins.

So he fashioned a cup from a piece of a sack
And he begged at the side of the road by the track
But his look was too ragged; his cup was too rough
And the Iowans, somehow, not quite gen'rous enough
He stood there all day with your present in hand
Wondering how he would get this to you like we planned.

And finally, a cop, on his neighborhood beat
Said "I'll give you some money to get off my street"
UPS man, he promised, he swore up and down
That he'd get out of not just the street, but the town
So, haggard, he crawled his way back to the booth
To call up his boss and present the sad truth.

 And of course, you'd be dreaming, if you thought that he
Would get right through to boss man, but listen to me
If I told you how long busy signals he heard
You might think it was crazy; you'd say "that's absurd"
But much later that night, as fate finally let him
His call made it through; they sent someone to get him.

His friend sped out there in a much newer truck
Saying "I'll put an end to this streak of bad luck"
And he picked up the first guy and your present too
And headed west, traveling almost eighty-two
They would certainly have got here, you can be assured
Except weather has attitude that can't be cured
And whatever the forces that drove it that day
They were only one kind; one that gets in the way.

A blizzard came down like you never have seen
Thunder and lightning to turn your hair green
Snow, it came dumping, all over the place
And that cold, freezing wind that bites into your face
Though the truck, well equipped, could have faced lesser storms
This was something unusual, outside the norms
The truck slowed to a crawl, till it barely was going
Where it finally did stop, there's just no way of knowing.

But I'm sure on that spot you'll see nothing at all
You'll hear no engine whirring; you'll hear no feet fall
Buried somewhere down deep 'neath the ice and the snow
There are two UPS men, both heroes, we know
With a package for Steve, labeled 'Christmas - Use Care'
As not one suspected it wouldn't get there.

Of course, nobody knows where exactly it is
As I'm sure Joe could tell you, 'cause he's in the biz
But they fully assure me that it's on it way
And it should be arriving almost any day
For the snow, it is thawing, and knowing those guys
They will never give up till the fat lady flies
They know it's important; they know it is great
To always deliver, though you may be late.

I can hardly explain how it chokes me inside
To recount the sad tale of your gift's awful ride
And it would be right here, it would be in your hands
If the fingers of fate had not made other plans
But we know that a gift, it must be a surprise
You can't know what it is 'till you see with your eyes
But as one tiny taste of the sadness I feel
I can give you a hint.  It has only one wheel.

(several says later the expected unicycle arrived)