Anchor ads are not supported on this page.

4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

I'm determined to pull A Christmas Carol from my bookshelf again

December Dickens

Dear ...

I'm sure you've got snow, that your fireplace warms the living room. You can bet it's 70 here. I've just turned on the furnace for the first time, but even so, only after the sun went down. But it's December, damnit, and I'm determined to pull A Christmas Carol from my bookshelf again and walk into Dickens's 19th-century England: plum pudding, waistcoats, bed curtains, Jacob Marley's Ghost, Old Fezziwig. I need an overcast day, a couch, a faded afghan, and a few hours. "Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that."

Read it aloud. Have you tried this?

Dickens does this great thing with series, and they need to be spoken:

The registrar of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner.... Scrooge was his sole executor, his sole administrator, his sole assign, his sole residuary legatee, his sole friend, and his sole mourner.... Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner!

Poor Master Scrooge had a reason to be bitter. Remember that Thanksgiving I told you about when I was stuck at school? — four awful days in an empty dorm — I felt just like young Ebenezer, "alone again, when all the other boys had gone home for the jolly holidays...." But then, his sister comes to fetch him — here's where I start crying....

"I have come to bring you home, dear brother!"

"Home little Fan?"

"Yes! Home, for good and all! Father is so much kinder than he used to be.... He spoke so gently to me one night that I was not afraid to ask him once more if you might come home; and he said Yes, you should...."

Sponsored
Sponsored

I like to sit with Scrooge when he peeks a look back at his happier past:

"Good Heaven!" said Scrooge, clasping his hands together, as he looked about him. "I was bred in this place. I was a boy here!"

"You recollect the way?" inquired the Spirit.

"Remember it?" cried Scrooge with fervour; "I could walk it blindfold...."

And I want to be steeped in the stuff, in a way you can't be in California — or this century:

The walls and ceiling were so hung with living green ... from every part of which bright gleaming berries glistened. The crisp leaves of holly, mistletoe, and ivy reflected back the light, as if so many little mirrors had been scattered there.... Heaped up on the floor... were turkeys, geese, game, poultry, great joints of meat, sucking-pigs, long wreaths of sausages, mince-pies, plum-puddings, barrels of oysters, red-hot chestnuts, cherrycheeked apples, juicy oranges, luscious pears, immense twelfth-cakes, and seething bowls of punch that made the chamber dim with their delicious steam.

It doesn't matter, every time I read it, that I know sister Fan will die in childbirth, that Scrooge will leave his true love because she has no dowry. I know that Tiny Tim won't lose his leg, Bob Cratchit won't lose his station, Scrooge won't lose his bed curtains. And I know I'll be as tickled as the old man himself when he wakes up from his dreadful dream.

"I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a school boy. I am as giddy as a drunken man...."

"Hallo there!.... What's to-day, my fine fellow?"

"Today!" replied the boy. "Why, Christmas Day."

"It's Christmas Day! I haven't missed it! The spirits have done it all in one night!"

And Dickens will do it again—make me hate the old miser, pity the sad boy, and pray for Scrooge's redemption: "Spirit... if the courses be departed from, the ends will change. Say it is thus with what you show me?" Dickens will transport me to wintry London — "Foggier yet and colder! Piercing, searching, biting cold...." — and make me forget the Pacific Ocean out my window. Love....

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Finest Art Showcase San Diego, International Summer Organ Festival

Events June 29-July 3, 2024
Next Article

Mainly Mozart unleashes a storm of liquid Mercury

The orchestra is the star of the Festival

Dear ...

I'm sure you've got snow, that your fireplace warms the living room. You can bet it's 70 here. I've just turned on the furnace for the first time, but even so, only after the sun went down. But it's December, damnit, and I'm determined to pull A Christmas Carol from my bookshelf again and walk into Dickens's 19th-century England: plum pudding, waistcoats, bed curtains, Jacob Marley's Ghost, Old Fezziwig. I need an overcast day, a couch, a faded afghan, and a few hours. "Marley was dead, to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that."

Read it aloud. Have you tried this?

Dickens does this great thing with series, and they need to be spoken:

The registrar of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner.... Scrooge was his sole executor, his sole administrator, his sole assign, his sole residuary legatee, his sole friend, and his sole mourner.... Oh! But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grindstone, Scrooge! A squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner!

Poor Master Scrooge had a reason to be bitter. Remember that Thanksgiving I told you about when I was stuck at school? — four awful days in an empty dorm — I felt just like young Ebenezer, "alone again, when all the other boys had gone home for the jolly holidays...." But then, his sister comes to fetch him — here's where I start crying....

"I have come to bring you home, dear brother!"

"Home little Fan?"

"Yes! Home, for good and all! Father is so much kinder than he used to be.... He spoke so gently to me one night that I was not afraid to ask him once more if you might come home; and he said Yes, you should...."

Sponsored
Sponsored

I like to sit with Scrooge when he peeks a look back at his happier past:

"Good Heaven!" said Scrooge, clasping his hands together, as he looked about him. "I was bred in this place. I was a boy here!"

"You recollect the way?" inquired the Spirit.

"Remember it?" cried Scrooge with fervour; "I could walk it blindfold...."

And I want to be steeped in the stuff, in a way you can't be in California — or this century:

The walls and ceiling were so hung with living green ... from every part of which bright gleaming berries glistened. The crisp leaves of holly, mistletoe, and ivy reflected back the light, as if so many little mirrors had been scattered there.... Heaped up on the floor... were turkeys, geese, game, poultry, great joints of meat, sucking-pigs, long wreaths of sausages, mince-pies, plum-puddings, barrels of oysters, red-hot chestnuts, cherrycheeked apples, juicy oranges, luscious pears, immense twelfth-cakes, and seething bowls of punch that made the chamber dim with their delicious steam.

It doesn't matter, every time I read it, that I know sister Fan will die in childbirth, that Scrooge will leave his true love because she has no dowry. I know that Tiny Tim won't lose his leg, Bob Cratchit won't lose his station, Scrooge won't lose his bed curtains. And I know I'll be as tickled as the old man himself when he wakes up from his dreadful dream.

"I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel, I am as merry as a school boy. I am as giddy as a drunken man...."

"Hallo there!.... What's to-day, my fine fellow?"

"Today!" replied the boy. "Why, Christmas Day."

"It's Christmas Day! I haven't missed it! The spirits have done it all in one night!"

And Dickens will do it again—make me hate the old miser, pity the sad boy, and pray for Scrooge's redemption: "Spirit... if the courses be departed from, the ends will change. Say it is thus with what you show me?" Dickens will transport me to wintry London — "Foggier yet and colder! Piercing, searching, biting cold...." — and make me forget the Pacific Ocean out my window. Love....

Comments
Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Old Testament figure blocks San Diego Diocese’s request to enter bankruptcy

Judgment Day
Next Article

Luna's Lunpias adds a Filipino twist to Poway

Another covid business has grown into its own
Comments
Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox Movies@Home — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close

Anchor ads are not supported on this page.