Thursday, November 19, 2009


It gets very foggy here in the mornings of late, and it is getting cold at night. Winter is definitely on its way. It's also getting to be the holiday season, as I'm led to believe that Thanksgiving is next week already.

Somehow that seems difficult to fathom. Perhaps it has something to do with this being my second Thanksgiving in as many years receiving combat pay....

In any event, as November wanes and is about to turn into December, I've found myself thinking fondly of those years long ago when my Dad would read "A Christmas Carol" to us children as the holidays approached.  I fell in love with the story as Dad read it, and later as I watched the cinematic adaptation of the story (Scrooge, 1951) starring Alastair Sim.

Could this be why I've become a curmudgeon?

Anyway, the description of the cold and fog at the beginning of that story came back to me yesterday morning as the fog was so thick and it was so cold as I trod outside, flip-flop-shod, to the latrine to shower and shave.  Even better, though, is the description that Dickens gives of the interior cold of the man:

Oh!  But he was a tight-fisted hand at the grind- stone, Scrooge! a squeezing, wrenching, grasping, scraping, clutching, covetous, old sinner!  Hard and sharp as flint, from which no steel had ever struck out generous fire; secret, and self-contained, and solitary as an oyster.  The cold within him froze his old features, nipped his pointed nose, shriveled his cheek, stiffened his gait; made his eyes red, his thin lips blue and spoke out shrewdly in his grating voice.  A frosty rime was on his head, and on his eyebrows, and his wiry chin.  He carried his own low temperature always about with him; he iced his office in the dogdays; and didn't thaw it one degree at Christmas.

External heat and cold had little influence on Scrooge.  No warmth could warm, no wintry weather chill him.  No wind that blew was bitterer than he, no falling snow was more intent upon its purpose, no pelting rain less open to entreaty.  Foul weather didn't know where to have him.  The heaviest rain, and snow, and hail, and sleet, could boast of the advantage over him in only one respect.  They often "came down" handsomely, and Scrooge never did.  (A Christmas Carol, Stave One)

"He carried his own low temperature about him..." Don't you just love that? I've met people like that! A bit later in the text is one of my most favorite lines from the book:  "Darkness is cheap, and Scrooge liked it."

Ah!  A true curmudgeon!!

Blessings and peace to one and all,

Fr. Tim, SJ

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