Sunday, December 4, 2016

No Bah Humbug

The first time I saw a live performance of the Charles Dickens classic "A Christmas Carol" was in December 1984. A manager at work treated a dozen of us to a memorable evening that included tickets to see the play at the historic Ford's Theatre in Washington DC.

I promised myself that night I would see the play at that theatre again one day and hopefully share the evening with a special lady. Twenty-nine years later I finally did and now we've made this an annual tradition.

The whole ghost of a story resonates with me and I'm not completely sure I know why. I do know that I get teary-eyed near the end, even though I already know how it ends, and I feel so good after it's over. And for weeks later.

We see it during Thanksgiving week and the spirit stays with us through the season.

Maybe it's the idea that we often get so busy in our lives that we lose our heart. Without even realizing it, we lose the wonder, caring, purpose and fun of our youth.  It is replaced by the hard-edged, selfish pursuit of careers, of making money, of living up to expectations of others. It often takes some jolting event in our lives to snap us back to the idealism of our youth. For Ebenezer, that jolt is the overnight visit of three ghosts. For me, it is seeing A Christmas Carol.

Hard to believe that Charles Dickens novella was written in 1843. It connects on many levels with our lives in 2016. I went through many years of holiday depression, probably caused by the mismatch of expectations and a disconnect between the Christmases of youth and adulthood. Maybe I was just grieving the loss of my youth. The words "bah humbug" crossed my lips many times.

My determination to live a more positive life over the past five or six years was enhanced by adding A Christmas Carol to my holiday season. The annual production at Ford's Theatre is especially spectacular.

I'll end this line of thought with one of my favorite paragraphs from the play:

"I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach!"


The stage for A Christmas Carol at Ford's Theatre


The Lincoln box.  I'll take the tour some day.

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