I'll be on TV later this evening for my Thursday date with "Tucker Carlson Tonight", live on Fox News at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific.
Meanwhile, it's time for our penultimate Christmas story by L M Montgomery. Tonight's episode is a product of the teenage Maud Montgomery's unhappy year in Prince Albert (then in the North-West Territories, now in Saskatchewan). Maud had gone there to get to know her surviving but long absent parent - her father John Montgomery - and in hopes that his young wife would be the mother she had never known. Instead, she found herself spending a year as a lady's maid and nanny in a land she found far harder and crueler than her beloved Prince Edward Island. Her island tales are light and whimsical, even when fate derails your dreams. On the northern prairie she found just the bleak reality: in the summer, crops fail; in the winter, the very climate oppresses you. And yet, drawing on her experiences there a decade later, she found as usual the inherent goodness in the people:
Two snowed-up figures were standing on the porch. As they stepped in, the Josephs recognized one of them as Mr. Ralston, a wealthy merchant in a small town fifteen miles away.
"Late hour for callers, isn't it?" said Mr. Ralston. "The fact is, our horse has about given out, and the storm is so bad that we can't proceed. This is my wife, and we are on our way to spend Christmas with my brother's family at Lindsay. Can you take us in for the night, Mr. Joseph?"
"Certainly, and welcome!" exclaimed Mr. Joseph heartily, "if you don't mind a shakedown by the kitchen fire for the night. My, Mrs. Ralston," as his wife helped her off with her things, "but you are snowed up! I'll see to putting your horse away, Mr. Ralston. This way, if you please."
Members of The Mark Steyn Club can hear "The Josephs' Christmas" simply by clicking here and logging-in. Earlier episodes can be found here - and a cavalcade of Christmas tales by everyone from Dickens to Steyn is awaiting you here.
Thank you for all your comments about our Yuletide Tales for Our Time. Sol, a First Weekend Founding Member of the Steyn Club whom alert Steyn Cruise alumni may glimpse in the audience for this year's Mark Steyn Christmas Show, was struck by the simple but profound lesson of yesterday's story:
Backlands Christmas stories, video poetry, these are a few of my favorite things. Thank you, Mark, for your generosity in bringing these out of obscurity and into rotation.
There's a potential game-changer that could be applied from this simple tale that resets the definition of charity.
Weddings often include the familiar verses from Corinthians that delve into some facets of love. In the King James, the word isn't love, but charity; prefaced by a refutation of what we now think of as charity: "And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor...and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing."
So the giving wasn't the charity. But these fellows exemplified charity. They cared enough to stop and notice, and out of a sincere desire from the heart to do good took the initiative to meet the need, and then some. They got involved. In doing so they created meaning, something profoundly needed in today's Enderly Roads.
Very true that. Sol's fellow Californian, Melissa Ward, has a preference for Monday's episode:
Aunt Cyrilla's Basket is my favorite story so far. I love the way she "establishes" herself on the train seat. I would much rather establish myself on a seat than sit on one. There are a lot of life lessons in this story, including bloom where you are planted or established.
It is often necessary to "establish" oneself on one's seat, Melissa - especially on public transportation.
If you'd like to know more about The Mark Steyn Club, please click here - and don't forget our Christmas Gift Membership. See you on the telly in an hour or so, and back here tomorrow as Anne returns to Green Gables - and do join me at the weekend for The Mark Steyn Christmas Show, in which one of my guests will be the sister of the composer of the music for the CBC's Green Gables sequel "Road to Avonlea". In Canada there are never more than two degrees of separation...