Bob's counting the days to Christmas by Bob Karolevitz Scrooge is not my favorite literary character.
Although he came out of Charles Dickens� Christmas Carol smelling like a petunia, it took two scary ghosts to make him see the light.
Phyllis says the �bah, humbug� line fits me perfectly, but I beg to differ with her. After all, I don�t need a couple of disembodied apparitions to get into the holiday spirit.
I may be a curmudgeon 11 months of the year, but when December comes around, I turn into a jolly old elf. I know we�re supposed to be more spiritual in this Advent Season, but I must confess that I like the hustle and bustle of Christmas.
Although I understand the real reason for the season, I get caught up in the excitement of the time: the shopping crowds, the Salvation Army bell-ringers, the music of the day, the gifts to buy and wrap.
I find myself wishing for a blanket of snow each time I hear Bing Crosby sing about it. Currier & Ives pictures � which always enjoy a revival � add to my nostalgic desire for the white stuff (if I don�t have to shovel it).
Then there�s the decorating.
Phyllis does herself proud by putting Christmasy things all over the place. I expect to see Rudolph, the Red-nosed Reindeer in my favorite chair and miniature Santa Clauses staring at me from every nook and cranny of our house.
When the girls were small, we packed a thermos bottle full of hot chocolate and went tramping through the woods in search of a special tree. We cut it; giggled a lot; sang O Tannenbaum and dragged it home.
Now we just have an artificial one (oh, heresy!) � but somehow it doesn�t detract from my Scrooge-less disposition because it looks �real� with all the decorations attached.
I hum Jingle Bells as I write another annual letter. In verse, no less! I turn up the Bose so I can hear Mel Torme singing about �chestnuts roasting on an open fire� � or Andy Williams and brothers harmonizing on carols I know all the words for.
Meanwhile, Phyllis fills the house with aromas of her holiday baking and candy-making. It�s a joyous occasion, to say the least, and which poor Scrooge never experienced.
(My wife is a lousy Norwegian because she doesn�t allow lutefisk to smell up the place � although she does make lefse.)
Needless to say, I enjoy the festivities leading up to Dec. 25. Possibly I�m reverting to a second childhood when Donner, Blitzen and the other reindeer pulled Santa�s sleigh from housetop to housetop so he could go down the chimneys with his bag full of goodies.
(I never did figure out how he squeezed into all those flues, and he never got soot on his clothes either. But I digress!)
Be that as it may, I like everything about the days before Christmas. Then I can sing Silent Night, Holy Night and really mean it.
Maybe Scrooge will join me, too.
� 2004 Robert F. Karolevitz