Wednesday, January 15, 2014

An Epiphany Memory of Scrooge

Rebecca Romney, the book expert who is a frequent guest on the History Channel show "Pawn Stars," wrote this interesting piece about Dickens' A Christmas Carol  How fascinating to learn of Dickens' commitment to the work compared to his publisher's hesitation. Christmas was considered a "second tier" holiday, and Dickens' sales at the time were sufficiently iffy to make his publisher skittish about the work.

When I was a kid, my mother loved to shop for cloth and sewing products at a fabric store in Vernon, Illinois. Vernon is a small village on U.S. 51 about ten miles south of my hometown, near the larger town of Centralia. During my childhood we often had errands in Centralia, including my visits to orthodontist. The little store in Vernon was a convenient stop.

The trouble was, waiting for my mother to shop was like watching paint dry. She took forever, and she became put-upon if you tried to rush her. During our Saturday family trips to downtown St Louis, my dad and I would wait for Mom to return from shopping, sometimes an hour and half after our agreed-upon meeting time.

So ….if Mom wanted to stop at the Vernon fabric store, I was smart if I brought a book along. One evening, I sat in the car and started to read A Christmas Carol. I don't think I finished the whole book that evening, but I came close as the day's light faded to twilight.

That is my memory of reading A Christmas Carol for the first time. Several months ago, as I drove around home places in a nostalgic mood, I took a photo of the long-closed fabric shop and remembered my mom, her quirks, and her sewing skills that my daughter now has. Ghosts of road trips past.

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