Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Thank you very much

This afternoon, I watched Scrooge, a musical version of A Christmas Carol released in 1970 by Shepperton Studios. Albert Finney played Scrooge, and Sir Alec Guinness, before he earned the Sir, played Marley's Ghost. The first time I saw this movie was on an elementary school field trip. This was in the days when movie theaters had one screen about the size of four in today's multiplex theaters. I don't think I've seen the movie since then.

What I remembered most from this childhood viewing was a happy chorus during the visitation of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. Celebrating Scrooge's death, the people of London sang, "Thank you very much. Thank you very much. This is the nicest thing anyone's ever done for me!" Today was the first time I realized that someone was actually tap dancing on old Ebenezer's coffin as he received his musical escort to hell.

Of course, the song was reprised with real movie gratitude after the big Christmas morning character conversion.

Being the silly, sentimental thing that I am, I cried during the final scenes of the movie. That's just what I do. I always have, and I probably always will. I cried a little harder as I remembered how R. used to fondly tease me about my movie tears. He thought they were sweet and somehow charming. That's one of the reasons I loved him so much. So I cried today, and then like any good southern woman (See Steel Magnolias -- "Laughter through tears is my favorite emotion."), I smiled and laughed for a moment, grateful for a good memory.

I've had quite a few tears of more sincere origin lately. Since Thanksgiving, there have been five deaths among friends and their families, including a young friend of my daughter. Deaths touch me a little harder than they used to. My wounds, though healing, are still tender. Somberness takes up more room in my makeup now.

In a weird way, I'm particularly grateful for Charles Dickens today. In books and stories, he never ran from the shadows of the holiday season. Death, disease, hunger, disappointment and sadness claim their place in this holiday season whether we want them to or not. I've been reading Dickens since childhood. His books and the movies created from A Christmas Carol helped created a longing for some fantasy Victorian Christmas. I can so see myself in some fabulous gown, barely able to breathe in the essential corset, playing childish games at his nephew's Christmas dinner. They've also helped prepare me to handle real sadness when the rest of the world seems to be celebrating and to trust that I will celebrate again.


Blogger alphawoman said...

I have this book called The best 501 books ever written and natch Old Charles is among the authors listed. I vaguely remember this movie...I am somewhat older than you, so I would have been in high school. What I remember from my childhood was Mr. MaGoo's christmas carol. In 2008 everytime I turned around someone close to me was dying. My Dad, my Aunt, my Uncle, my brother in law, my sisters father-in-law, one of my Mom's best was a terrible year spent at funerals. I never want to go through a year like that again.

December 10, 2009 10:42 AM  

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