He went to the church, and walked about the streets, and watched the people hurrying to and for, and patted the children on the head, and questioned beggars, and looked down into the kitchens of homes, and up to the windows, and found that everything could yield him pleasure. He had never dreamed of any walk, that anything, could give him so much happiness.
I will honour Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, the Present, and the Future. The Spirits of all Three shall strive within me. I will not shut out the lessons that they teach. —A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens
A highlight of celebrating this Yuletide Season was Franklin’s “Dickens of a Christmas.” Until last week, my sister, brother-in-law, and I had not done the annual event since first moving to Nashville. Walking Main Street took me back to many-an-afternoon on Hoptown sidewalks spent window-shopping with Mama Lou–a time before Internet Wish Lists and a place when it was ok to spend a day “just looking.” We’d stop in to see Mama Sargeant, Bookkeeper at J. C. Penney, have a banana split at the soda counter, and then head home to launch other adventures by way of Christmas classics.
Both grandmothers loved books, so I met Mr. Dickens early in life. I loved Mama Lou’s Christmas Ideals (the book and her lifelong wonder found in simple things). Brimming like a stuffed stocking, its pictures fed my imagination with conversations between Santa and Mrs. Claus; carolers in velvet, hooded capes; and children and dogs dallying in the snow.
On December 15, as cold as the Decembers of our childhoods, Penny, Jeff, and I met Kim and Andy, Franklin residents and newlyweds, in the Franklin Square. On our Sunday stroll I felt fully alive, proven by our breath misting in the streets. Inside stores twinkled with lights and all-things-pretty–cozy bedding and tulle gowns worthy of wearing by the Sugar Plum Fairy and waiting for Santa himself. Though we bought only kettle corn and sugared pecans, we savored sweet Christmas past and present. I don’t know what Christmas Future holds, but I am confident in the One who holds it. All is calm, all is bright because as Dickens said:
“For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.” —A Christmas Carol