More from Bill Kearney
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house was
barely enough food to feed a mouse. Our stockings had holes, chimney
no heat, I waited in hope they'd return from the casino with
something to eat. I'm a child of parents who got into bed with an
industry that puts dancing fruits, bars and bells in your head.
My siblings were nestled all snug in their beds, this year it's not
sugar plums but despair in their heads. As I watch them drift off for
a long winter's nap, my prayers were for my parents to never go back.
Then out in the driveway I heard such a crash, I ran to the window
and threw up the sash.
Those flashing lights of disaster made my vision clear but I couldn't
comprehend what to my wondering eyes should appear, was it police
cars and officers in full gear? Mom's hysterical using words I dare
not repeat. Dad's thrown down so quick, now there's no doubt our
future is bleak.
More rapid than alcohol and drugs it came, and those in our
government swear it's okay. Once legal they whistled, and shouted, and
called them by name! "Now Harrah's! now Sugarhouse' now Isle of
Capri! on Foxwoods! on Trump/Street! on Sands/Venetian! on Mount Airy!
Throughout the state we'll fill coffers for all! Now cash away! Cash
away! Cash away all! Their money blows away in those slots like
clouds in the sky, and so will their homes and families go by! So up
to the house-top in debt they will be, with bankruptcy and theft
bringing them to their knees.
One day in Philly I heard a man say we must stop the breeding of
casino gamblers today! He was dressed all in black, from his head to
toe; he looked more like a gambler than a casino foe. His eyes-how
they widen, his demeanor changed as he addressed the non-ill effects
of casino gambling our government proclaims.
His hands moved like pistons, his anger was seen as he exploited this
industry like a well oiled machine. A bundle of safeguards he flashed
out loud, things like no comps, no booze, and no credit aloud. Then
he said something that made me think twice; "make them send monthly
statements showing their sad plight."
I thought of my family and where we might be, if they got statements
and casinos never opened near me. Before he left I heard him say,
"Merry Christmas to all" then he exclaim, "if we sit back and do
nothing we're all going to pay and those long sleepless nights may
come your way."
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