Thursday, August 27, 2009

Stops at the Service Station

Day 4**Scrooge and Marley

A Christmas Carol, by Charles Dickens, is one of my all time favorites. Every Christmas season I look forward to watching the movie (in one of its many forms), or reading the book. It’s a timeless tale of service featuring delightful ghosts, magical travels through time, and, of course, the wonderfully reprehensible character of Ebenezer Scrooge.

One of my favorite scenes is where Scrooge is haunted by the ghost of his former business partner, Jacob Marley. The ghoul is weighed down with strong boxes, accounting books, and heavy chains. “These are the chains I forged in life,” Marley informs Scrooge, and warns that the burdens allotted for Ebenezer to wear upon his death are many times more ponderous.

Miserly Mr. Scrooge repudiates Marley’s warning by assuring him that he was always a good man of business.

“Business!” Marley wails. “Mankind was my business! Their common welfare was my business!”

That scene scared the stuffing out of me when I was little. It obviously scared Ebenezer too, for he agrees to allow other spooky spirits to visit him in hopes of undoing his fate.

In the end it all turns out well, with Mr. Scrooge changing from a selfish man, into a man who reaches out to others, and in the reaching discovering an interesting benefit—he’s happy. I love the final scenes where the once grumpy Ebenezer can’t stop giggling for joy as he contemplates different ways to serve others.

I suppose the moral of A Christmas Carol is, if you don’t want your sleep disturbed by a parcel of pesky poltergeist, be on the look-out for a Bob Cratchit or Tiny Tim who might need your generosity.

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