Thursday, December 15, 2011


If it hadn't been so close to Christmas, I should never had had Scrubby McDonnell for a passenger. My most substantial friends advise me never to pick up fellows who beg rides along the road.

Throwing caution and caste out of the car window, I stopped. "You can ride if you'll be good," said I. He began being good by taking out of his mouth a much-chewed chew of tobacco. As the closed car windows furnished no exit, he put it in his coat pocket. In the course of many miles I found out that that was all he had had to chew, whether tobacco or anything else, for an even 24 hours.
——Walter Locke, Scrubby McDonnell's Christmas

This is a complicated world. Out of the tussle and confusion of it some of us come to the top and ride in furnace-heated automobiles, and some of us, just as anxious to be at the top and trying just as hard, slip down to the pavement. All the year around I know this sorry fact with my head; but it's only in the friendly rush of Christmas that I feel it and see the cure for it.

The power of Christmas, our great sample Christian day, to solve the Scrubby McDonnell problem is going to grow on me all these coming pre-Christmas days. I find brewing in me a radical idea. By Christmas Eve, I feel it in my bones, I shall be rising up and calling upon all the world to end the world's woes by making the spirit of Christmas the spirit of all our days.

I've collected Christmas books for years, and must have at least a couple hundred. Their contents range from anthologies of seasonal poetry, short stories, and novels, to histories of the holiday and its customs and traditions, sketches and narratives of remembered Christmases by various writers, cookbooks, even a craft book or two, though Myladylove collects the latter two categories and probably has upwards of a hundred Christmas volumes of her own.

This year, starting on the first day of December, I thought it might be fun to dip into a few of these works and share a quote or two from their pages—a few lines of poetry, a bit of prose, maybe even a recipe—on a daily basis, a sort of "Christmas Quotedown," which I'll put up in addition to my regular posts. I'll also include a photo of the book's cover, from which the day's quotes are taken—though a few, lacking a dust jacket or any sort of fancy cover design, might be decidedly non-photogenic. On the other hand, several of my favorite Christmas works are quotably rich troves, indeed, and thus might end up furnishing more than a day's worth of quotes—though I'm starting out with the notion of a different book each day. 

Along the way, I hope I select some things you enjoy. 


Carolyn h said...

Grizz: Ah, this is one of your quotedowns that I didn't know before. Thanks for sharing it! I'll have to look for the book.

Grizz………… said...

Carolyn H…

It's a small book, 63 pages, 8 short stories; only the title piece is about Christmas. This little volume was published locally in 1929; I think you can find a copy for $5-10…but before you do, let me photocopy this and a couple more of the stories and send them to you—see how you like the style.

Locke was a rather famous political columnist and newspaper editor, including our local paper, which he edited for the last few decades of his life. He wrote a number of books, several somewhat about nature. There's a "Whistling Post" (the title of one of his nature books) bench dedicated to Locke overlooking the river which flows past my cottage. And as it happens, I drove past his impressive gravesite yesterday while visiting the graves of my parents, grandparents, and several relatives.

Gail said...

HI GRIZZ - wonderful sentiments, and so true - there are Scrubby McDonnel's around us all year trying to survive. sigh........and the battle is different for everyone - we all need one another to make it through.
Love to you this Christmas season and always.

Grizz………… said...


There are, indeed…plenty of 'em. I've been close to becoming a member of that group once or twice myself. Wouldn't it be something if everyone recognized this fact and decided to help just a single person? Wow! What a Christmas that would become for the record books!

I hope you and yours have a more wonderful Christmas than you could ever imagine—and I know it's possible because you carry the true spirit in your heart all year long.

The Weaver of Grass said...

If only we could make the spirit of Christmas the spirit of all our days Grizz - a wonderful idea.

Grizz………… said...


Yes, yes! The Christmas spirit carried throughout the year. Wouldn't that be wonderful. And so simple…just open our heart and think of others first—and then put thought into action.

What a difference it would make.