Scrooge’s Visit to our Dickens FESTIVAL
“Based on a True Story”
or “Historical Fiction”
I got to play Scrooge this year.
I confess now to not giving it much thought.
I more or less mailed my performance in.
and got to mingle.
I bought a Ben Franklin wig, …put it on,
and looked more convincingly old than I wished I could.
I guess I am a different kind of ham than being a Dickens character demands.
In the days following Dickens though, I began to reflect on walking around as Scrooge.
The many little conversations I had, and the characters I encountered.
These thoughts grew into a daydream of what Scrooge would see or feel
if HE came back to haunt OUR festival,
A festival largely inspired by him.
Scrooge and I as we float through my chimney and into the kitchen,
for our Dickens tour.
He tells me you can do that when you are a ghost.
We begin by floating in through my office’s chimney and into the kitchen,
Right above John Korzac and his big hat who, with a mix of brashness, competence
and comedy is managing the kitchen.
I tell Scrooge, “John is smiling because he has not realized how hard it will be
to get out of this job in future years.”
He is not alone.
Across the counter is Elliot who has been loyal and steadfast, and flat out helpful all week.
“I like them both,” my inner Scrooge says, and both for entirely different reasons.
Scrooge and I float towards the pantry from the kitchen where just below
Jane Fogg strolls in to warm up some chili.
She slides by John Cobble who she has passed by in this kitchen for decades now.
John is getting a free facial from the steam pouring out of the dishwasher he is emptying. Again.
Even my inner Dcrooge knows these two are irreplaceably good.
People, who if one built a church like school-kids pick kickball teams, would be picked very early.
Right behind Jane is Roger, the brainchild of this little festival, bounds in
looking for 2 gobbler sandwiches and a bag of chips.
He is thinking about a dirty joke and laughing heartily to himself in that uniquely Roger way.
I tell Scrooge, “Roger is a pussycat, opinionated but heartfelt,
a loyal friend to many and this church and beyond.
Roger is a good man,” I say to Scrooge.
Young Wyatt walks by - face pale and rattling his cans,
he is wondering if he could get a gig as a pro wrestler called Marley the Ghost.
It is not a bad idea.
Tamara has jumped in this week and looks fully 19th century today, too.
She is walking about taking photos.
We begin to float across the parish hall.
Lauren Bloomberg, who looks strikingly like one of those Little House on the Prairie girls on a vacation to London,
is scurrying by the cookie table with a handful of orders from the sanctuary.
“She looks like a nice, unpretentious, young lady,” Scrooge says.
“You’re right,” I say.
“Who are those two, shuffling about next to her,” Scrooge asks.
“Oh those are the Bloomberg’s cousins from Israel” I say.
“Nice they could come help.”
“Damn nice,” I say.
Scrooge and I float into the foyer over the ruddy faced Pat Flynn
who is greeting guests with a laugh.
I imagine walking by and Pat pointing to the sanctuary and,
while winking, says something cheeky like
…“Talk about moneychangers in the temple.”
Hovering above I respond back, “Yeah, I wonder if Jesus would pitch a fit, or just buy a bracelet.”
Pat chuckles, just as Marcia Flaherty walks by
headed back into the Parish Hall to wash another already clean mug.
“She seems to have a jump in her step,” Scrooge says, and I respond, “Oh, yeah.”
“That Marcia is honest, earnest, quirky, funny, and just lovely.”
We look a little to our left to see Deb Bloomberg,
who this year has done everything her husband Bob Bloomberg hasn’t done to make Dickens possible
Deb deserves all the credit in the world her husband and daughters,
Carolyn and Lauren, and cousins don’t deserve.
They are all standing on the ramp gathering to sing.
Sal is standing there too, silver haired and regal,
So too is Dan Duffy who I tell Scrooge, helps out with a lot in the yard.
“We are missing Larry Fogg today,” I tell Scrooge, “He’s a trip.”
Larry isn’t quite well enough to be here today, but he’s here in spirit too; top hat on, devilish smile on his lips.”
If All Souls was Gilligan’s Island, Larry would be the Professor.
Back in the entry way Joe Maloney arrives.
He, as always, immediately looks for a way to jump in.
He walks in from work seeming apologetic that he is late and assures us he came as soon as he could.
And, I assure you Mr. Scrooge, that is true.
Joe will probably be among the last to leave, all the doors securely locked. All things put away.
It is clear that Scrooge is touched by all the big-hearted souls running around in clothes like his.
Still in earshot Diana, my pal, who would hardly miss today, has her recently repaired knee up on a cooler and is taking cash for hot dogs.
Diana is trusted, because we trust her only to steal a little.
She hollers over that she is going to win my parking spot raffle and force me to park in the street.
I tell her, “You don’t even have a car.” And she tells me that doesn’t matter.
“True enough,” I say, but “It’s a long walk back home,” I remind her with a wink.
Pat Mascelutti in her bonnet laughs, that lovable laugh of hers.
Diana and Pat are the very heart of this church,
I tell Scrooge, “the very heart of us here.”
Rick, who is decked out like an Englishman off to the theatre, chimes in from just to the right.
“It’s a good thing we like you Irreverend”
“Rick,” I tell Scrooge, “he loves this space, governs over it, does reliably what he is not asked to every week. This room doesn’t sparkle without Rick,”
That is Judy Doherty, an old church friend and future member, next to him,
Lisa Korzec too, both tidying and putting up the new Attic goods.
Lisa is an artist, Judy something of a mystic.
Both have stepped in to do their share and more.
Scrooge says “I am having a hard time being bitter.”
To which I say, “Phyllis would normally be back here too.
She’s a straight shooter, you would like her."
As we float over to the raffle table I cannot help but think about Maryanne Chiasson jumping annually into her little act of All Souls love to MC the raffle drawings.
Scrooge says, “I am moved again by all those willing to give.”
“Me too,” I say, “cause they are giving, I hate to admit it, in part to support me.”
Watching everyone work so hard, I feel a little odd, grateful and nauseous at the same time.
Drifting over all the noshing shoppers I realize that I don’t see Mary Mitchell,
who I want to point out to Scrooge
“Funny, she is not here,” I tell Scrooge, but let me assure you,
she is two steps ahead of the rest of us, probably off creating a spreadsheet somewhere.
Here or not, I see Mary all over this festival the undergirding for many, many, many things good here at All Souls.
As is her husband Tom.
I tell Scrooge, Mary’s Tom and John Cobble are having a contest for who can jump in and handle the most things un-dramatically and quietly.”
Scrooge asks “Who is winning?” and I tell him, "we all are."
Kathy Pearce is sitting over by Diana, cutting the fudge, which almost sounds dirty, but isn’t.
I tell Scrooge, Kathy has a wicked sense of humor.
She’s a keeper. A female Unitarian mensch. So is her husband Andy.
“Let’s go see the sanctuary,” I say on our little tour,
“but let’s first take a spin over the bake table.”
“Ghosts don’t eat,” Scrooge reminds me. I tell him this is not the day for that.
“Well - for a smell - if not a taste.” I say.
Underneath us is Sandra Lingley, pitching cookies,
“She is in a way also representing Barbara who would be here if she could.” I tell Scrooge,
“Both loyal and earnest.”
Scrooge says “There seem to be as many nice people here as chocolate chips in those trays of cookies.”
“And look at those pies,” he said.
“Those pies,” I add, “ trimmed exquisitely by our resident artist Michael Domina.”
We fly up into our beautiful rafters, out over the ramp, and up to the top of our stone tower.
We sit for a minute to enjoy the view of the neighborhood on this cold clear day,
before dropping down and into the sanctuary.
“That is Linda and Mark Cozzens shopping, “I point out to Scrooge, “They are right near the clan of Kearns and Ellstrom’s who have gathered selling hand-made cards.
All of them are always in the middle of things, always helpful.
Maggy, who is loved and amazing, is ushering a shy kid back to see Father Christmas.
I tell Scrooge I would say something nice about Gene, but that would break ME out of character, and betray how fond I am of him. I’ll simply say Gene looks good in Red.
Smart, peaceful, unpretentious George Goss just walked below us carrying a tray full of food.
Right past the pews that Pete Smith has competently and quietly moved out and will soon move back into place.
Scrooge says it is hard not to notice how many Bob Cratchett types there are here.
I respond in a fake English accent, “Right you are, good mate,”
And over in the center aisle is Linda Steiner I point out. And Don Swanson
There’s another couple great folks.
“They are everywhere,” Scrooge says, “just everywhere.”
“Yes, they are I say.” “Yes, they are!”
Scrooge says, “I have seen enough.” “My legacy is in good hands.”
“Yes, it is.” “Yes, it is.”