'TWAS THE EVE OF THE CENSUS
'Twas the week before New Year's and all through the land:
Uncle Sam poised to count us by mail and by hand.
Local offices open (500 in all).
Praying 300 million will answer the call.
The children all learning the census in school,
In hopes that their parents will think it is cool.
With recruitment in full swing, Bob Groves at the helm,
Soon short forms (10 questions!) would blanket the realm.
And I with my News Briefs and hard-to-count map ...
(For census apostles, no long winter's nap.)
When out in the street there arose such a clatter.
I sprang from my desk to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash.
Tore open the shutters and drew back the sash.
The sun on the crest of the new fallen snow
Gave the lustre of hope to my neighbors below.
When what to our wondering eyes should appear
But a huge tractor trailer; '2010' on the rear.
The logo was striking; the slogan was grand:
The success of the census is all in our hands!
It's easy, important; you've nothing to fear!
And that's when it hit me: The road tour was here.
A mustachioed driver. Good God, could it be?
I knew in a moment: Dr. Groves, it was he!
"We're here to remind you, the census is nigh.
We strive to miss no one," he said with a sigh.
"Omissions and duplicates trouble my dreams.
For each passing decade gets harder, it seems."
He pondered past troubles: analyzed, overcame.
He prayed to his forerunners, then called out each name.
Now Chapman, now Keane, now Barabba (served twice).
On Bryant, on Riche (two women - how nice!).
Now Prewitt, Kincannon, then Murdock (the last) --
The director was haunted by censuses past.
But times are a'changin. There's no need to brood.
With ads sure to brighten the national mood,
With partners and Facebook, we're raising the bar.
It's time to be counted! ¡Hagase contar!
The crowd moved in closer; they wanted to see
Those mysterious forms they could mail back for free.
The director cajoled them: It's for your own sake.
Ten questions, ten minutes is all it will take.
Relationship. Birth date. Your gender. Your race.
Your telephone number to call just in case.
The people were wary. They weren't sure why
The envelope blared at them: You must comply!
Don't fret! There's a law; section 9 is the key.
Your personal answers are all safe with me.
The director then thanked us, good patriots all.
The road tour was off to more towns big and small.
But I heard him exclaim as he drove out of view,
"If you mail back your form, we will not visit you!"