A couple of weeks ago, our son played Tiny Tim in the annual production of Dickens’s Christmas Carol at a semi-secure New York private club I belong to. There were a couple of professional actors, but most of the players were members of the club. Our son was the sole interloper. This was his fourth or fifth year in the role and, truth be told, he was getting a bit long in the tooth as the diminutive puller of heart strings and utterer of the play’s most famous line. He doubled as the young lad who fetches Scrooge the prize turkey—not the small one, but the one as big as the boy—on Christmas morn.
It’s a corny tale, none more so, but we all love it. I always shed a tear or two in the course of the performance and I’m sorry that James has outgrown the role. I thought about Dickens’s sentimental entertainment this morning as James and his sister opened their stocking presents. It’s easy to recoil from Dickens: he so obviously manipulative, so schmaltzy, so blatant about the dramas he enacts. And A Christmas Carol must be among his broadest, most sentimental creations. And yet, and yet . . .
I’m not sure James would still admit it, but he too loves the play, and his little sister was simply mesmerized. All of which is to say that I would like to associate myself with the sentiments expressed with such simple eloquence by Tiny Tim. I know that many readers of this column take issue with many of the opinions it expresses. But at least for today I’d like to leave dissension aside and wish everyone a very Merry Christmas (or whatever season holiday you celebrate). And as Tiny Tim said, “God bless us everyone.”