Greater Harrisburg's Community Magazine

Hark! The Harrisburg Angel Sings


Hark! the Harrisburg angel sings,
Glory to all strange city things.
Our capital’s had quite a year
For those of us still living here.
At last, it seems receivership
Will wrap up its historic trip:
Our third-of-a-billion in bad debt
We swap for a ten-piece parking set
And an over-leveraged, infernal furnace
Whose burn, we hope, will cease to burn us.

Some still yearn for bankruptcy,
But now, at least, we’ll all be free
From the whims of a federal judge’s will
(plus millions more in legal bills).
Also, the creditors will be made whole! A
Hearty thanks to Jeff Piccola.
We fondly recall the gov’s first pick,
The much-loved David Unkovic,
Even despite his mortal sin
Of talking to actual citizens.

It took Bill Lynch, who came on later,
A cool, tight-lipped negotiator,
To haul his predecessor’s design
All the way to the finish line.
(He may’ve, at some point, had to do
some crazy Air Force jujitsu.)
Whether this plan, though, works at all
Will all come down to City Hall—
And hence we sink to the second layer:
This year’s raucous run for mayor.

In November we voted for—holy crow!
Was it really only two months ago?
We still have mailers on our lawn
Too savage to be viewed straight on.
In May, we sent a sayonara
To the four-year Linda Thompson era,
Which got its share of unfair press
But was, regardless, still a mess.
Anyway, the voters spoke
And chose that Midtown Bookstore bloke.

Whose field, it seemed, was almost cleared,
When over the summer, things got weird.
First Mindlin’s independent light
Proved inadequately bright
To illuminate his signed petition’s
One-inch-long instruction section.
And Curtis, though gentlemanly and driven,
Forgot which town he was supposed to live in.
And so, appalled by a one-man race,
Dan Miller did his about-face.

Decided to give it a second try, and
Joined the party of Paul Ryan.
What happened when these two well-known
Respected, decent men-about-town
Met on the ballot head-to-head?
They tore each other’s names to shreds!
(You may lament it or deplore it,
But the city is probably better for it.
At least it got some of us off our cans
To read the damned recovery plan.)

In any case, Papenfuse won once more:
The man went tirelessly door-to-door,
Held great meetings, took good notes,
And spent a bucketload per vote.
Can he get this fractured town to gel?
We’ll hold our breath, and wish him well.
That brings us to the final piece
Of this brief holiday caprice:
A thought on what it means to be
At home in this community.

Whatever happens in our seat
Of government on Second Street,
Even when officials get it wrong,
The main thing’s that we get along.
The leaves still redden, the snow still falls,
The art still hangs on gallery walls,
The beer still flows in local bars,
The traffic lines still confuse most cars,
And Harrisburg, even amidst alarm,
Still keeps its river-city charm.

With that, we now extend TheBurg’s
Sincerest good wishes to you and yours:
Be well, share meals with family and friends,
And as this fateful annum ends
Let’s enter the next one resolute—
And free from any libel suit.


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