Oh, the Joy and Beauty1
“Scrooge.” The word played with its shadow while he feigned resignation. “In August.”
She could see only his eyes, where he’d lowered the New York Times Week in Review section, the one he always read first on a Sunday afternoon. Those eyes were laughing.
“A tale for all seasons …” she moralized, turned serious. “Do you mind, Love?” Her expression reflected the sweet certainty of his answer.
He folded the papers.
“Of course not. Here … I’ll get the VCR ready. Come and sit. Should we lower the thermostat for the air conditioner … perfect the mood?”
“You’re teasing me,” she pretend-pouted.
“Only a little. Ah, Albert Finney. The singing and dancing … the joy and beauty.’
“Will you join the chorus?”
“I seem to recall a similar conversation the last time we watched this … was it in April?”
“Probably … and you didn’t sing.”
“I may hum occasionally. I do not sing.”
Performing for her theatrical stare he conceded, “Well, perhaps some words set to melody do escape me … on that very rare occasion …”
She grinned then, a full, happy glowing. “Perhaps … indeed! But, okay, I’ll neither beg nor anticipate your vocal performance during the movie. Just watching. Listening. And enjoying. Together.”
“Your parents left you this rather … unusual … tradition, you know…Christmas Carol in summer. Fall. Spring. And December.”
“You’re not bored, are you?”
“Nine, I think, and there’s ever hope for more.”
He squeezed her close. “My Love. My Optimist. My Christmas Carol Fan.”
At the exultant ending, Ebenezer, reformed and redeemed by Jacob Marley and the other Christmas Spirits, closes his front door, eager to “… get ready for Christmas dinner with my family.” That left the camera to charm viewers with the final scene: a lion-head doorknocker sporting a white moustache and beard and a fur-trimmed-red-velvet Santa Claus hat.
They sat through the scrolling credits because she loved the lyrics that celebrated in accompaniment.
“Vincent … you are the joy and beauty of my life.”
He leaned forward, kissed her lips with the barest touch. “Joy and beauty is all around us. Sometimes it can be hard to recognize when one feels … alone. That’s what Scrooge learned from his guests. ”
“Are you saying I’m your Jacob Marley?”
“Perhaps. How does that make you feel?”
“Not very glamorous. Terrible hair. Necessary?”
He raised her hands, held them against his chest. “For me, there is beauty in everything, Catherine … in the strength of the stone walls Below … the shifting dust of the tunnel floors … in a stormy day beyond these windows … our garden when winter frosts each bush, each separate and amazing blade of grass, sets them to sparkle in the sun. Our love … glorifies … every view as I turn to look … my only need is for more of you … ever more … When I see what I’ve been given, all that is laid out before me to cherish or disdain as I might choose … I realize the choice is… gone … Is that not wonderful! Our Scrooge learned to refuse the possibility of negative choice and that’s why he could be happy.”
“Vincent, your capacity to appreciate … You dwell in that place where life is true … where it’s lived in honesty. When I first saw you, I knew that every word you’d shared with me in those days you cared for me was from your beautiful heart. Life is joy for you because it’s how you form it, as it becomes part of you. You claim … life … in joy and beauty. You’ve always lived that way … before you ever found me. You’ve never needed a Marley.”
“Was there a before you, Catherine?”
He touched the remote to darken the screen and a new light blazed as he took her into his arms.
“I will forever need you.”
Love. Rejoicing. Perfected.
Oh, the joy and beauty!
1 “Scrooge” 1970
Musical score by Leslie Bricusse
This is really for us, H