It's the Christmas season at SteynOnline. As has been traditional round these parts for many years, we have bargains galore among our Steynamite Christmas specials - and as always we will have a full panoply of seasonal programming in the days ahead, including Tales for Our Time, my monthly series of audio adventures that come December turns to more festive fare.
I'm happy to say the first of this year's Yuletide tales by L M Montgomery have been well received, at least by Phil Hopman, a Mark Steyn Club member from Illinois:
Well Mark, your "Tales" have greatly enriched my home. We are a very busy, very distracted family, so when my wife and I force our gaggle of sons to all sit in the same room, we not only learn about the author's experiences (sometimes in painful detail) but hear a great story also. Haven't met a stinkeroo yet.
Thank you, Phil. I'm rather heartened to think of families still sitting around the radio as in 1937. As to these particular stories, written by a young woman who had not seen much of the world, I am touched by their sentiment and sincerity and sense of struggle. Elizabeth Bakoss, a First Month Founding Member from Florida, feels similarly:
This is perfect! Can't wait for future offerings. It's amazing that with such a difficult early life LM still managed to be more educated, literate, and thoughtful than most of what is passed for art today. And without calling constant attention to "self" or "me" in the process.
Somewhere out there I believe this still exists, and I hope can thrive in small, unnoticed ways, if we can finally observe the artificiality of social media, and if we're willing to work hard at something outside ourselves. Keep this coming...and Merry Christmas!
Tonight's story was written in 1903 and thus pre-dates Anne of Green Gables. Aunt Cyrilla's Christmas Basket begins with a bad case of social embarrassment - the woeful provincialism of a country aunt, especially when heading to town to visit with smart metropolitan cousins:
When Lucy Rose met Aunt Cyrilla coming downstairs, somewhat flushed and breathless from her ascent to the garret, with a big, flat-covered basket hanging over her plump arm, she gave a little sigh of despair. Lucy Rose had done her brave best for some years—in fact, ever since she had put up her hair and lengthened her skirts—to break Aunt Cyrilla of the habit of carrying that basket with her every time she went to Pembroke; but Aunt Cyrilla still insisted on taking it, and only laughed at what she called Lucy Rose's "finicky notions." Lucy Rose had a horrible, haunting idea that it was extremely provincial for her aunt always to take the big basket, packed full of country good things, whenever she went to visit Edward and Geraldine. Geraldine was so stylish, and might think it queer...
But Lucy Rose and her aunt are headed to town by rail - and things that seem queer on the streets of Pembroke don't always seem so on a snowbound train. I've been captive in stuck trains twice in my life, and, if it wasn't exactly as Miss Montgomery tells it here, I recognize the shy, gradual embrace of camaraderie, with or without Aunt Cyrilla's basket. To hear tonight's story, please click here and log-in. For our first three seasonal tales by L M Montgomery, please see here.
If you're in search of a gift for your near and/or dear ones this holiday season, and they're partial to classic fiction in audio, we've introduced a special Mark Steyn Club Gift Membership that comes with a trio of our most popular Tales for Our Time.
See you on the telly with Tucker in an hour or so, and right here tomorrow for our fifth Yuletide tale by L M Montgomery.