A Christmas Carol…Through The Looking Glass

Neva Jane had been reading Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol, and enjoying every minute of the story. Billy B.’s mom read late into the night on a regular basis. She loved books and belonged to the Book of the Month Club. On their bookshelf, there was everything from; The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich to The Sleeping Prophet. The first is about Germany during the time leading up to World War II and the War. The second is about Edgar Cayce…a healer and psychic physician and seer of their future…and past. Neva’s favorite movie was what she called, Scrooge, although her title encompassed several of the popular Christmas Carol flicks. When someone was miserly or did not care about the poor…Neva Jane would name them, Scrooge… Billy B.’s mom was a helper of the poor…and she was far from rich… Two of her best friends were people that had long ago been marginalized in the little town of Eldorado…which as the sign that welcomed people into the City of Gold…said…A Town Full of Friendly People and One Old Sore Head. Rosie was a rotund little lady that favored dresses called Moo Moos. She talked to herself a little and every now and again…she provided an answer. Rosie loved JFK and had framed photos of him hanging in her little house and vinyl records discussing his assassination. She had a boyfriend who she proudly told Neva J., ‘He is all man.’ Billy B. wondered how she knew…or even what did she mean? The other friend was ‘One-Eye,’ which is what the town’s people had named a poor old woman…who indeed had one eye. She wore on her head what was termed in the early 1960s…a Gypsy Scarf…and was said to be a thief.

Chet and Jane were coming over to Billy B.’s house for Christmas Eve and Neva J. had promised them that they would see…Scrooge. Of course, there were movies covering the famous Dickens literary work from the 1930s-1950s. When Billy B. had asked his mom which movie was playing on Christmas Eve on the television…she responded with a sly smile…and a wicked grin… Billy B. was adjusting the rabbit ears on top of their 18 inch TV when he heard a knock at the door. Neva J. said that she would get the door in order for him to get the television ready for the movie on channel 3. In walked Jane and Chet…to London at the time of Charles Dickens. Suddenly they stood outside the home of Bob Cratchit and his loving family…and beside them was Scrooge and the Ghost of Christmas Present…through the window, they could see that Bob and Tim were preparing to attend Christmas Eve Service at their church. The Ghost asked Billy B. if he would like to see the Christmas Eve Service that he would be attending when he was an old man…and Billy B. said that he would.

And…So…they were in there…in the pew at First Presbyterian Church in Carbondale, Illinois. The service was very much as Neva J. had read in A Christmas Carol. It began at 11:00 pm and concluded at midnight. It was lit by candlelight and when the Christmas Hymn was sung, Silent Night, tears came to Billy B.’s eyes. Chet looked into the corner of the beautiful sanctuary and there was Tiny Tim with his one rustic crutch. He was smiling from ear to ear and his dad, Bob Cratchit, was beaming with his cheeks as rosy as two ripe apples. Old Mr. Scrooge was smiling and singing at the top of his lungs…as he wept when he saw Tiny Tim…and witnessed his faith in his fellow man…and in God…

As they exited the stone church with the bell tower…Billy B. wondered how he would end up in Carbondale…when a 6 foot and 3 and 1/2 inches man passed him…and stopped and winked…

Jane said that she wished they had time to eat a Christmas Meal with Bob Cratchitt and Tiny Tim and family…once Mr. Scrooge had been visited by the three Ghosts. She would have thoroughly enjoyed witnessing the joy of the family after Scrooge became their benefactor. And…Thus…they walked into the front door of the Cratchit home…to a feast of Roast Goose and plum pudding and Punch…as much as you could drink…and meat pies…by the score… In came Tiny Tim…but he was no longer tiny…he danced an Irish Reel across the living room floor and when he reached the dining room table which was groaning with Christmas food and drink… his dad joined him in a dance of gratitude and joy and peace and hope…

Whoo said Chet when he looked up from the Christmas Feast at the Cratchit’s…to find that he was in front of the Bump’s television…and Scrooge was over. ‘Who wants Punch, said Neva J.? In walked Rosie and One-Eye…and they were bearing gifts for all… One-eye… whose name was Abigail…told of Christmas in her country…that she called the Old Country. She told of escaping the Nazis and that she had spent a year in Auschwitz Concentration Camp…where she had lost her eye by being struck so hard on her face that her eye had to be removed. She went on to say that at one time she had been very social and she and her husband had been professors at University…but that since she had been in the United States…she had never felt so welcome as she did at her friend’s home. Abigail said that her most precious Christmas gift was…Neva J.

Rosie told of being abused by her husband when she was young. She had Attention Disorder and had suffered from Depression since the abuse. She went on to say that she loved people but that she could only take them in small doses…and then required some significant solitary time…in order to re-charge her batteries. Rosie said, ‘No one has ever been as nice to me as Neva Jane.’ She went on to say, ‘I do not know if Santa Claus is real…but I know that Neva J. is…

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