Posts Tagged ‘kith/kin

14
Dec
18

12.14.18 … “And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!”

Christmas Tradition # 9: Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas.” a.k.a. “A Christmas Carol” (1843)

When I was in my early 30s, I realized that all three of the Lindsey siblings had a love and fascination with Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” and I knew where it it came from. My father was cast as Scrooge in the school play in second grade at Spring Street School in Atlanta. So Scrooge and “Bah Humbug” was a much a part of my cultural Christmas as Santa and “Ho, ho, ho!”

So how has this been incorporated into my celebration. I‘ve got at least 10 versions of the book, from reprints of the first edition, board book versions for toddlers, abridged early reader versions, graphic novel versions to just straight up paperback copies. I’ve got multiple audio readings including a copy of a BBC dramatic reading. I’ve seen theatrical versions in Atlanta, Louisville, Chicago and Charlotte. And then there are the film adaptations.

According to IMDb, there are at least 202 film adaptations:

“These are many examples from among the varied film adaptations of Charles Dickens’ novella “A Christmas Carol. In Prose. Being a Ghost Story of Christmas.” a.k.a. “A Christmas Carol” (1843). This list starts with the finest film adaptation, and has the rest of these selections in release-or-production-year order. It consists of traditional versions (that is, ones that each include a character named ‘Ebenezer Scrooge’ and are set wholly in 19th century England) and also (with and without spirits) other parodies and variations of or takes on this story.

Source: Various “A Christmas Carol” Film Adaptations (Also Includes Films with Non-Traditional Stories) – IMDb, https://www.imdb.com/list/ls050850349/

Besides the Christmas stories that are Biblical in origin, Charles Dickens’ 1843 classic telling of A Christmas Carol remains one of the longest-running, most-adapted, and most-relevant holiday tales to date. More than 170 years after the infamous miser-turned-do-gooder Ebenezer Scrooge entered our culture for the first time, there are still quite a few folks out there who could do with taking this timeless lesson to heart. I’d suggest they take the time to do what I did and watch 20 or so adaptations of A Christmas Carol until the moral sinks in, but the good-willed among you who don’t need a lesson from the spirits can check out our ranked list to see which version is most worthy of your time.

From the silent film that’s the oldest known theatrical adaptation in existence to the latest contemporary computer-animated feature film, A Christmas Carol has been presented in a number of different media over the decades. Each generation has enjoyed its own iteration of the classic tale, but our current generation has the unprecedented ability to access each and every one of those adaptations at a whim. With that in mind, here are 20 that should be on your watchlist.

Source: A Christmas Carol Adaptations Ranked from Worst to Best | College, http://collider.com/a-christmas-carol-adaptations-ranked/

My favorites? I’m partial to Alastair Sim (1951), George C Scott (1984), Patrick Stewart (1991) and Bill Murray’s “Scrooged” (1988). I’m not fond of the 2009 computer-animated version that starred Jim Carrey. I also like the Muppet version and several animated versions.

I have watched two more versions this year: 1. “The Man Who Invented Christmas” (2017) with Dan Stevens which I recommend (“This 2017 addition to the canon of A Christmas Carol takes a different tack in that it follows Dickens himself, played by Dan Stevens, on his journey toward writing and publishing the timeless tale. Scrooge (Christopher Plummer) and the familiar Ghosts of Christmas still make an appearance, but from a skewed perspective that takes quite a few liberties with Dickens’ life. In other words, it’s a fictionalized tale about a remarkable writer of fiction, and one that seems to borrow from the canon than it adds to it.”); and 2. “Mister Scrooge To See You” (2013), the Christian evangelical version which I do not recommend.

But my family incorporates “A Christmas Carol” into the holiday with more than just readings, film and theater. I decorate with it. My Christmas Village is a “Dickens’ Village,” and years ago I found a wonderful set of hand painted cloth figure ornaments by Gladys Boalt. (See below for that story. ) And I gifted some to my brother.


So clearly my family’s focus on the story is not unique. I googled “A Christmas Carol cultural significance.” And I found this:

This was Dickens’ main reason for writing A Christmas Carol. He wanted his readers to realise that, if they continued to deny poor children the necessities of life – such as food, shelter, warm clothing, healthcare and an education – they would grow up to become dangerous, violent adults. The child born in a workhouse who was not as fortunate as Oliver Twist, or the impoverished child who didn’t die young like Little Nell, would grow up to become another Bill Sikes, Fagin, Little Em’ly or Daniel Quilp.

Source: BBC – Culture – How did A Christmas Carol come to be?, http://www.bbc.com/culture/story/20171215-how-did-a-christmas-carol-come-to-be

And this …

[BEGIN QUOTE]

The book had two significant impacts on western culture. It is often said that Dickens invented the modern Christmas (there is even an upcoming film called The Man Who Invented Christmas, about the writing of the tale). That is an overstatement, but Dickens did help revitalize Christmas and set the foundation for the modern image of Christmas.

Christmas, as a celebration, has waxed and waned since the fourth century. In the 1640s, a movement within the Presbyterian Church, in Scotland, evolved into the Westminster Director (AKA Directory for Public Worship) which prohibited the celebration of Christmas and other festival days under the idea that the Bible only called for the observation of the Sabbath as a holy day.

“Ordered – that in the Directory for the Sabbath-day something be expressed against parish feasts, commonly called by the name of rushbearings, whitsunales, wakes, as profane and superstitious.” “Ordered – Being the only standing holy day under the new Testament to be kept by all the churches of Christ.” “Consider of something concerning holy days and holy places, and what course may be thought upon for the relief of servants (to meet to-morrow in the afternoon) wakes, and feasts, whitsunales, rushbearings, and garlands, and all such like superstitious customs.”

In 1660, when Charles I recovered the throne from those dastardly puritan parliamentarians, the Westminster Director was purged and Christmas was allowed to return, but it was muted.

The puritan Presbyterians took their bah humbug spirit to America and celebration of holy days other than the Sabbath was prohibited. Only in 1788 did they amend their standards to allow observation of “days of fasting and thanksgiving, as the extraordinary dispensations of divine providence may direct, we judge both scriptural and rational.” At the time of publication of A Christmas Carol, Presbyterians, Baptists, and Congregationalists in America were still begrudgingly tolerated mild acknowledgement of Christmas as a holiday.

Other religious groups were much more open to the celebration, but this fragmentation meant there was no common imagination of Christmas. Dickens drew such a vivid portrait idealizing Christmas traditions and practices and then distributed that depiction around the world. Readers were captivated and wanted their own piece of that world. He created a market for Christmas stories that would later make Santa Claus a household name. While certainly not shying from the Christian origins of the holiday, Dickens showed that the spirit of Christmas was one that could be shared by believers and non-believers alike – essentially creating the secular Christmas.

The other significant impact is the one Dickens set out to make when he wrote the story. At that Manchester speech, Dickens had spoken of ignorance and want. He was horrified by a world in which the poor and suffering were ignored and taken advantage of. He was horrified by the child labor situation in his country. When he has the Ghost of Christmas Present open his robe to reveal the two tiny children, Ignorance and Want, at his feet, Dickens was positing a progressive idea – the idea that employers are responsible for the welfare of their employees – that those who had benefited had a debt to those who had not. He states this more broadly when he has the ghost of Marley say:

“It is required of every man that the spirit within him should walk abroad among his fellowmen, and travel far and wide; and if that spirit goes not forth in life, it is condemned to do so after death. It is doomed to wander through the world—oh, woe is me!—and witness what it cannot share, but might have shared on earth, and turned to happiness!”

But the example Dickens uses is Scrooge’s responsibility to care for the well-being of his employee, Bob Cratchit, and Bob Cratchit’s family – particularly the infirm child, Tiny Tim.

[END QUOTE]

Source: How “A Christmas Carol” Came to Be Such a Massively Important Cultural Touchstone,

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/how-a-christmas-carol-came-to-be-such-a-massively_us_5a04e3cae4b0cc46c52e6936

And this …

[BEGIN QUOTE] The story was a foundational text for the distinctly Victorian version of Christmas which remains familiar today, with roast bird, festive cheer and homiletic tone.

Both the novella and this newspaper grew out of a period of intense political and economic turbulence. Rampant industrialisation was transforming Britain’s landscape; increasingly globalised trade had created new pressures, pitting established interests against a restive and maltreated working class. While The Economist was clear in its aim to champion free trade and classical liberalism, the ideological bent of “A Christmas Carol” was more equivocal.

Many of the Victorian readers who drove the book’s initial popularity were drawn by its amenability to Biblical allegory, more than any perceived political message. By the Edwardian era, it was largely read as a whimsical children’s story. It was only in the 20th century that “A Christmas Carol” was taken up by literary critics who attempted to parse its political subtext. Its economic ideas are valuable, too. [BEGIN QUOTE]

Source: The economic sensibilities of “A Christmas Carol” – Ghost Domestic Product, https://www.economist.com/prospero/2018/12/14/the-economic-sensibilities-of-a-christmas-carol

And Charlotte has a new event:

Take a break from shopping and come sip some cider with us and celebrate the true spirit of the holidays. The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library (www.cmlibrary.org), Charlotte Center for Literary Arts (www.charlottelit.org), and Charlotte Film Society (www.charlottefilmsociety.com) are partnering on a terrific new event this year: a read-aloud of Charles Dickens’ holiday classic, A Christmas Carol, paired with a film screening of the book’s famous 1951 adaptation starring Alastair Sim.

Source: Caroling, Cider, and Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol! | ImaginOn, https://www.imaginon.org/blog/caroling-cider-and-charles-dickens’-christmas-carol

So using Dickens’ closing words:

“And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!”

***

There is a side story about the Gladys Boalt hand painted ornaments. I first saw them when I was visiting NYC with my sister in 1983. They were an “exclusive” to a small quilt shop. We both fell in love with them. She bought Scrooge, but I was too poor or too cheap or both.

An experienced needleworker and fabric store owner, Gladys Boalt had already been creating wonderful boutique items for an exclusive New York shop when she was asked to try her hand at creating soft-sculpture Christmas ornaments. More than twenty years later Ms. Boalt is the proud creator of an exclusive line of historically accurate, highly-detailed figural ornaments that are so inspired, they have even been chosen to adorn the White House Christmas tree. 

Each Boalt ornament is a small work of art involving as many as fifty separate steps. Completely hand-sewn by talented members of Ms. Boalt’s New England women’s cooperative, the little figures and tiny costumes are complete with authentic period details. Gladys Boalt personally hand paints every face, then signs and dates each piece.

Source: Gladys Boalt Collection, http://www.christmasatthezoo.com/orig/web/ornaments/boalt.html

Now skip forward almost 20 years … I was living in Chicago and I visiting with new neighbors, Kate and Ralph Russell, and Kate had the Gladys Boalt A Christmas Carol ornaments! I had never seen them again. She had bought them while on her honeymoon during the same time period in NYC in the same quilt shop that I had originally seen them, and she knew the shop’s name, The Gazebo. So with the modern Internet I was able to find the shop and they still sold them. But in addition, there were exclusive retailers in Chicago and Atlanta. So I got my set of the ornaments.

Gladys Boalt ornaments are completely handmade in the USA. The designs are traditional, as interpreted by Gladys Boalt. All Boalt Ornaments share certain unique characteristics. Some of these include:

  • Individually handpainted and hand-shaped faces with incredible detailing that gives characterization to muslin and stuffing.

  • Sewn and painted body detail.

  • Sewn, painted and applied clothing, always in the style of the period or of the story book characterization.

  • Every Boalt ornament is signed and copyright dated.

  • The charm of all ornaments is at least partially found in their existence in memory, as well as their elusiveness, appearing, as they do, out of hiding each year to make Christmas memories.

Source: Our Products : WeedHouse, Gladys Boalt Ornaments, http://www.weedhouse.com/page.html?id=3

And I found this:

05
Dec
18

12.5.18 … And Let the Season begin! …

Christmas Tradition #3: Celebrating the birth of the brother.

We call it St. Edmas Day. And in my family, Christmas shopping and decorating didn’t begin until after December 5. I don’t know if my mom intended it to continue 60 years, but her saving Christmas until after Edward’s day just seemed like the right thing, so I generally do it, too.

This year, I ran across this Henri Nouwen quote and have shared it with several of you on your birthdays. It seems appropriate to share again for my BIG brother’s BIG 6-0hhh!

“Birthdays need to be celebrated. I think it is more important to celebrate a birthday than a successful exam, a promotion, or a victory. Because to celebrate a birthday means to say to someone: ‘Thank you for being you.’ Celebrating a birthday is exalting life and being glad for it. On a birthday we do not say: ‘Thanks for what you did, or said, or accomplished.’ No, we say: ‘Thank you for being born and being among us.’

On birthdays we celebrate the present. We do not complain about what happened or speculate about what will happen, but we lift someone up and let everyone say: ‘We love you.'” #HenriNouwen HERE AND NOW

And maybe, just maybe, I can refocus Christmas and say “Thank you for being born and being among us.”

So, happy birthday, Edward!

And Let the Season begin!

12.5.18

05
Dec
18

12.5.18

Driving Mama Lindsey …

I must note that before our drive I visited the Greenwood Ice Cream Company factory store. They do not sell ice cream retail, only institutional sales to clubs and restaurants, and the store is decrepit. But if you grew up here you probably grew up on it. My brother has a favorite, Chocolate Orange, and I agreed to pick up the 1.5 gallon container.

Back to the drive … We began the drive about 2 pm. It feels cold, but is gloriously sunny in Atlanta today. So we bundled up and headed out.

We started by heading south on I 85 and got off at Peachtree Street/Spring Street. We came up beside Rhodes Hall and talked about The Yellow Lantern, a small bookstore that was in the strip across the the street. We used to take my grandmother there when I was little. I remember being confused because she would “rent books.”

After that we drove through Ansley Park and discussed the usual friends and family who had lived there. Then as we were finishing up our route and were on The Prado, I noticed a small historical marker: The Granite Governor’s Mansion. Very interesting.

And then we headed north on Peachtree to Brookwood Hills. As we headed north, we discussed the 1958 Temple Bombing. Mom didn’t remember much, but she does remember visiting the Temple with a Bible Class. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hebrew_Benevolent_Congregation_Temple_bombing)

Brookwood Hills looks good. And we talked about how we hope the family that bought 139 Brighton from her in 2001 loves the house and neighborhood as much as we did. We made a few loops around the other streets, and as we exited on Palisades, we noticed that the Luxenburger’s house is on the market. They have lived there 50+ years. What a great house!

This architecturally significant Neel Reid gem has not been on the market in over 50 years! James Means heart of pine library and private garden addition is a rare treat. This home offers 10′ ceilings, spacious rooms & impeccable details throughout. Private gardens feature a slate patio, many original plantings, and an Ivan Bailey fountain.

(Source: Zillow, https://www.zillow.com/homedetails/14-Palisades-Rd-NE-Atlanta-GA-30309/35900238_zpid/)

And then out to Peachtree again. As we neared Peachtree Battle, she asked to stay on Peachtree all the way to Lenbrook.

So we creeped along noting all the new tall buildings.

I decided to ask her about her childhood memories in Pineview GA.

She prefaced the conversation by saying Christmas was not a big deal.

She and her mom would go to the woods and cut a tree, set it up and decorate it. Her mom did not cook because she had cooks, but she did bake cakes. She never remembers sharing a holiday meal at her grandmother’s house, but does remember sometimes going to Aunt Bertha and Uncle Josh’s house. She doesn’t remember any special presents. So in general Christmas was not a big deal. No wonder she always seemed overwhelmed by the big fuss my dad and his family made of it.

Another great ride.

12.5.18

01
Dec
18

12.1.18 … celebrate Christmas Traditions … paperwhites everywhere!

I love this from my childhood friend, Elizabeth, so I am going to do the same thing on this blog … During the month, I’ll be sharing a few of my favorite Christmas traditions in random order. I’d love to hear of yours too!

Christmas Tradition #1: Paperwhites everywhere!

The first thing I do is plant 50+ paperwhite bulbs for forcing indoors, for myself, mostly for myself, and for gifting. This tradition began with a gift of paperwhites in a blue and white bowl in 8th grade from Marty Wayt McMullin. Marty is not on Facebook (but her mom Martha Wayt is) and we send each other a note every year to celebrate our friendship and that tradition.

Do you have a tradition at your house you would like to share?

12.1.18

06
Nov
18

11.6.18 … I am a hoarder. I must admit it and move on …

Things …

I am a hoarder. I must admit it and move on. I have things that date back 100+ years. Some have a story that I know and others do not.

I am going through my house chest by chest, closet by closet, bookshelf by bookshelf, room by room.

Today, I did one very old chest and two overstuffed hall/coat closets. I gave many things to Goodwill, including 8 coats, I have a large bag of trash ready for the curb, and I now realize I probably don’t need to buy most lightbulb sizes and styles ever again.

However, these items made me pause:

1. A Dyson pink vacuum cleaner that I bought during one October Breast Cancer Awareness campaign many years ago. There was a period of time where I bought an item each year and named it for a friend who had had breast cancer. Every time I have used this vacuum cleaner I have thought of my dear friend Cary. It has cleaned up many a mess.

2. A London Fog men’s khaki colored jacket with zip out down lining that my mother bought for her father, my grandfather, a farmer who would have never spent that kind of money on himself. My mom bought it in the mid80s. He had never had a down jacket, and it kept him warm during the last few years of his life. My grandfather Joe L Dennard (and for whom I am named) traveled extensively, but the one place he never traveled, and wanted to, was Alaska. Last year when I traveled to Alaska I grabbed the jacket on a whim. Once there, I wore it on a glacier hike with John and my son Jack, our guide. I believe my grandfather was with me. Today, I decided to donate it. It has barely been worn, and I hope it will keep some person warm and they will feel the love that went into this gift many, many years ago.

The value of these things are in the stories.

Blessings and Tidings of Good Will …

11.6.18

21
Sep
18

9.21.18 … “When someone asks you why you walk a labyrinth, tell them it’s because silence isn’t empty..it’s full of answers!” – unknown

“Solvitur Ambulando” – It is solved by walking, 2018 Labyrinth Walks, St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church – Mooresville NC, Myers Park Baptist Church – Charlotte NC, kith/kin, silver linings:

Today I planned to travel to Smith Mountain Lake near Roanoke VA for my annual retreat with 16 college friends. This weekend feeds my soul. And today I woke up with what I assume is a kidney stone. And the only cure at this point is heavy dose of ibuprofen and lots of water. This, too, will pass.

But there was a silver lining … there usually is. I spent the day with another Davidson friend who is in town to watch her son swim for Davidson. She gave me her day. We enjoyed lunch at the Pickled Peach and then ventured north to Mooresville to walk a new-to-me labyrinth at St. Patrick’s Episcopal.

It is a small Medieval 7-circuit labyrinth nestled in a corner of the church’s campus. They offered a pamphlet and I think it a good one, offering history and guidance with a clear message of welcome to all. The pamphlet used Psalm 16:11 as guidance.

You will show me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy, and in your right hand are pleasures for evermore.

I’ve attached a copy of the pamphlet.

And here is some info on this labyrinth: http://www.lakenormanpublications.com/mooresville_weekly/boy-scout-s-prayer-labyrinth-created-to-heal-community/article_6cb4dc46-b509-11e7-94d2-e34c8e33834d.html

After our walk, we headed to Charlotte to Queens, trying to avoid the nightmarish I77 traffic. Once in Charlotte we walked the MPBC labyrinth.

So if I have to be here, I couldn’t ask for a nicer way to spend my day. Thanks, RA!

Quote:

When someone asks you why you walk a labyrinth, tell them it’s because silence isn’t empty..it’s full of answers! – unknown

9.21.18

31
Jul
18

7.31.18 … and to all a good night …

Driving Mama Lindsay …

Today was a little different. We headed out to Westview Cemetery via I 85, the Connector and I 20. Once in Westview, we drove straight to Daddy’s grave. Although I did not ask her, I wonder if it bothers her to know that this will be her last resting place. For those of you who knew my dad, do you get the epitaph? I remember that the lady who took the order did not get it.

After Westview, we headed downtown and took a spin around the Georgia State Capitol. I enjoyed all the statues including the newest of MLKjr. My great grandfather, grandfather and brother have all served in the Georgia Legislature.

After the capitol, we headed north on Peachtree St. I pointed out Edward’s current office building Suntrust Plaza, and I noted the modern lions on the Marquis Building. I’ve never seen a modern take on classic lions.

And then we drove north. I focused my commentary on the churches along our route, first Central Presbyterian near the Capitol, then First Methodist (Ann DeRosa, were you married here?), St. Luke’s Episcopal Church (so may friends were married here), North Avenue Presbyterian Church (my family’s church and where I was married), First Presbyterian Church (where I attended preschool and where I remember going to Christmas Eve services in high school and College) and the small public library nearby, Peachtree Christian Church (beautiful Tiffany windows), and the Temple. We also talked about the Fox Theater and the Woodruff Arts Center.

Then a drive through Brookwood Hills and of course a viewing of 139 Brighton.

Next we went to Arby’s and “enjoyed” their roast beef sandwiches and a coke float.

And finally, back to Lenbrook.

7.31.18




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