Ways to share ‘milk of human kindness’

Published 3:31 pm Monday, November 10, 2008

My husband and I went to see “A Christmas Carol: The Musical” during a Sunday matinee at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival. I’m pretty much a “Christmas Carol” fanatic. I can quote passages from the original story and have a lovely annotated edition; I’ve watched numerous TV and film adaptations, and NEVER miss at least one viewing of the Alastair Sim version from the early ’50s – it’s my favorite!

Now, I have to be honest. I prefer previous stagings of the immortal Christmas tale to ASF’s current offering (this is the third version we have seen there).

The songs are not particularly memorable (and some of the lyrics quite hard to understand); the visit from Marley’s ghost suddenly turns into Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” – a bit scary for the youngest audience members.

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And heavens to Murgatroyd, what were the scantily clad, bustle-wearing chorus girls doing in that number with The Ghost of Christmas Present?

(During a Q & A session with cast members following the show, one audience member said it made the GoCP look like as a “flesh peddler.” Had to agree, it was a bit jarring.)

Still, the costumes and set were quite wonderful, the orchestra, tuneful, the cast, in fine form.

When a winsome Tiny Tim waved his crutch from high aloft the shoulder of his reformed “Uncle” Scrooge and crowed, “God Bless Us, Everyone,” the snow – not soap flakes, but real frozen precipitation – began to fall from the rafters. Children waved their hands in glee and tried to catch the snowflakes in their mouths. Adults chuckled like kids themselves.

It was a magical moment, for sure.

My hope is for us all to have some magical, memorable moments this holiday season. On Saturday, yet another gorgeous fall day, I saw plenty of people visiting the holiday open houses around town, some stocking up on Christmas presents and other simply browsing for ideas.

Listening to holiday music playing in the background and seeing all the beautiful decorations – delicate angels, elegant glass ornaments, intricately detailed nativities, Old World Santas – brought a smile to my face.

As “Miss” Burchie said, “It certainly helps get you in the spirit.”

There will be many opportunities for us to enjoy the holiday spirit in the coming weeks, to participate in community activities and share some of Dickens’ “milk of human kindness.”

This weekend, learn to tie a beautiful bow at a Main Street workshop, and listen to the angelic voice of John Berry in concert.

Make donations to a local food bank or volunteer to help serve a meal to the indigent for Thanksgiving.

Pack a shoebox of toys and personal items for Operation Christmas Child or help bring holiday cheer to a soldier overseas through Tom Duncan’s Care Package Project.

Visit Safe Harbor or DHR to find out ways you can assist people in need.

Don’t have money to give? Give your time, your talents and your affection. Those might be the very best gifts some will receive this year.

And you will help make a magical moment for someone who truly needs it, too.