Twas the night before Sherry left

Twas the night before Sherry left when all through Shell Place
Not a creature was stirring, not a mouse in our space
The name tags were hanging by Hanna with care
In hopes that all agencies were registered there

Pavlina was at her desk, working til three
To make sure the right numbers were entered carefully
Maryellen was counting the change into a pan
Just down the hall, was a planning Diane.

When out on the lawn, there arose such a clatter
Lindsey sprang into action to see what was the matter.
Away to the window, she flew like a flash
She looked down to see a bag filled with cash.

“Hey Muna” she called, “do you see what I see?”
Muna looked out and then called “Hey, Valerie”
When what to their wondering eyes did appear?
A bald headed man laughing like crazy and drinking a beer.

Now Diane! Now Val! Now Hanna you Swede!
On Muna! On Lindsey! On Jen with great speed
To the bottom of the stairs, to the doors in the hall
Russell seemed drunk and cheering to all

He was dressed all in fur from his head to his heart
And his clothes were all painted from his latest art
A bundle of cash he had flung on his back
And he looked like a canvasser who had just run the track

His eyes how they twinkled, his dimples how merry
The beer in his hand was made of black cherry

The bag full of money now sat close by his side
And he smiled up at all the galls who were standing curb side

He had a broad face and a thin little belly
(cause of Ideal Protein, yoga and delicious red jelly)

The team headed back to the office with cheer
To count the last donations and share Russell’s beer

A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
Soon gave them to know they had nothing to dread.

They spoke not a word, but went straight to work
They counted the money and watched Russell smirk
And laying a finger aside of his nose
He told us a story, his own little prose.

I was going home from the office to head off to bed
When a car pulled beside me and I turned my head”

The windows were blackened as dark as the oil
I heard only a voice and began to recoil

The stranger, he said, “You’re that guy who can paint”
I nodded my head and began feeling faint

“I need a picture” he said, “It’s special you see.
I have no gift for me wife for under the tree.”
“I need a new painting,” he began to disparage
“Please Mr. Thomas! Only you can save my marriage.”

So I thought and I pondered and I made my heart still.
“I’ll do it for you…for 1.5 mil”

miss piggy painting

So I painted a portrait of his wife – it was a biggy,
One swine of a woman; he called her Miss Piggy”
Moments later he hopped on his own private jet
As God as my witness, our Unite Way goal has been met.

And that my dear friends is the tale of the day
Of what happened last night before Sherry’s last day

I won’t be gone far, I’ll just drive out of sight
This isn’t good bye; it’s simply good night.


Farewell Sherry.  We’ll miss your spirit, energy and delightful fuss…but we know in our hearts, you’ll always be one of us!

Author: Sherry Duncan

Sherry proudly calls Fort McMurray home. Having lived in several mining communities with her family, it has been her experience that the heart of a community can be found at the volunteer pancake breakfasts, food bank drives, parent councils and similar community events no matter where your travels take you. From an early age Sherry volunteered in service to others under the watchful eye of her socially conscious father. As a parent to her own 3 (adult) children she has practiced and passed on those many life lessons. Over the years she has Chaired several volunteer events including (more recently) a Keyano United Way Campaign and served as board member for various organizations. Fort McMurray has no shortage of opportunities to be involved at many levels. Most recently Sherry's volunteered both front of house and on stage for Keyano theatre, Tedx Fort McMurray, Safe Communities Wood Buffalo PARTY Program, Social Prosperity Wood Buffalo and The Western Canada Summer Games. Sherry has completed the internationally recognized Chair Leadership Academy as part of her position as Chair and Instructor in Childhood Studies at Keyano College where she was also awarded the President's Instructional Leadership Award. She is a proud Leadership Wood Buffalo alumni, facilitator and keynote speaker. For 29 years, teaching children and adults has been her career allowing her many opportunities to travel, present, facilitate and engage in both educational and philanthropic activities. Joining the United Way will truly bring together her passions for teaching, learning and making a difference in the heart of her community and the Wood Buffalo Region.