GUEST COLUMN: Let’s talk about Scrooge

December 21, 2017 GMT

Who among us is not fond of Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol?” Mama. Because of the ghosts. Mama never liked the story. I enjoyed it because of the redemption of Scrooge.

A significant tale of the Christmas holiday, “A Christmas Carol” tells of the three ghosts who visit Scrooge on Christmas Eve. The ghost of Christmas Past. The Ghost of Christmas Present. The Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.

Savoring each Christmas, I am keenly aware that the present Christmas will, of course, become great memories. Those celebrated memories will generate classic stories to be told and re-told. Memories like the time James Mooneyhan dedicated the Christmas Eve service, at First United Methodist church, to my brother, Steve Terrell.

Traditionally, an Eagle Scout rang the bell at the end of their Christmas Eve service. Steve, an Eagle Scout who rang the bell decades ago, was in the Army and was stationed at Johnson Island that year. We were surprised and delighted that James would do something so thoughtful.

Arguably one of the most famous characters in English literature. Dickens’ portrays Scrooge as cold and cunning; one with a grating voice, and a stiff a gait. A cold-hearted miser who despises Christmas, his last name has become synonymous with cynicism. Scrooge’s signature phrase, “Bah! Humbug!” is frequently used to express disdain.

A theory exists that Scrooge’s character is based on James Wood, a banker at Gloucester Old Bank, in London. Wood inherited the bank from his grandfather, who founded it in 1716.

Wood purportedly visited Gloucester Docks and filled his pockets with little pieces of coal that fell off the boats being unloaded there. He wore the same old clothes for years on end.

A fellow traveler to London once made fun of Wood’s ragged clothing. Wood bet him £5 that he could withdraw £100,000 from the bank on their arrival to the city. The fellow traveler did not believe him. Wood showed the traveler that he withdrew those funds, and the travelling companion was forced to hand over the £5.

You can easily see how Scrooge’s character fits this real life English miser. James Wood died in 1836 and was buried in St. Mary de Crypt Church in Gloucester.

A very wealthy Englishman, Wood could not take his wealth with him when he died.

The Redemption of Scrooge

Ultimately, Scrooge is redeemed from his hateful, greedy, selfish ways. The spirits showed him scenes from Christmas past, Christmas present and Christmas Yet to Come. Scrooge eventually realized that he could change his ways and be a better man. He repented. He turned away from his greedy, miserly ways. He turned toward a life that exemplified generosity and kindness.

“A Christmas Carol” is a message of hope. It teaches us that any of us can change our ways. We can think of others, and become better, caring, compassionate people.

A “Christmas Carol” reminds us that there are better ways to spend our lives than amassing a fortune we cannot take with us when we die.

In the memorable words of Tiny Tim, “God bless us, every one!” Indeed. Merry Christmas one and all!

Native Roman Pam Walker is a busy paralegal, and welcomes your email to her at pamtwalker@gmail.com.