1221 – Dickens Tree Reading
Seasonal / Holiday
Thank You Notes
Other Charles Dickens Holiday Tales
Modern Christmas Celebrations
DOWN TO BUSINESS
I’m here to read you a story (but there will be meanders)
Feeling thankful and sweaty
Deep Dark Night United
Pam (Helix Sleep)
Hand in Hand; The Midnight Mission; Trevor Project; Sleep With Me Plus; SleepPhones; Emily Tat Artwork; NAPAWF; Anti-Racism Resources; Ukraine Relief; Crisis Textline; Referral Program
Wild Health; Hello Fresh; Polysleep; Odoo; Helix Sleep; Air Doctor Pro; Zocdoc; Progressive
Thoughts about Thanks
Don’t overthink the Thank You Notes
I get in my head about Thank You notes
Other things grab my attention before thanking people
My Internal Nana is always keeping score about my thank you notes score
Is this a dry-aged Thank You note?
These Thank You notes were a great vintage
I like to let my thank you notes age over time
2003 was a great year for Mass Market Thank You Notes
I have a box of free stuff that my landlord says I can’t put on the corner
No wonder Pip was stressed with those Great Expectations
Please don’t have expectations about my reading Great Expectations
Tantric Thank You Noting
Don’t worry, “tantric” is purely a marketing term
I don’t think I have time to talk about sweating anymore
Scooter was talking about a sweatshirt full of thank you notes
My semi-annual Spin Doctors reference
I’ll be reading a Charles Dickens holiday tale tonight
I’m gonna read a Dickens story in my own way
I don’t do a lot of reading on this podcast normally
1850 – “A Christmas Tree”
How can a tree be planted on a table, dude?
I like the phrase innumerable twigs
What’s an 8-day clock?
Oh you only have to wind it every 8 days – pretty cool
Sweet Meat Boxes
Do you watch the TV show on the Peep Show Boxes
This motley collection of odd objects on the tree
I guess Dickens would be part of the Deep Dark Night United
Dickens is going back into his own memory
Oh cool, Dickens has shrunk down under the tree?
This sounds like an old Elf on the Shelf thing
The cardboard man hung against the wall and pulled by string
Memories of old toys
How could a horse become wooden?
A wagon of cheeses
Ah, the Doll’s House that I visited
Man, Dickens is describing old toys just like I do
Oh, the warming pan!
Little thin books would hang on the tree
Dreadfully interesting double-headed friends
Did one Jack do all those nursery rhymes?
Little Red Riding Hood was his first love??
Oh, the wonderful Noah’s Ark!
All common things become uncommon and enchanted to me
None of those silly rhymes were Dickens, btw
I see a fairy light when I wake in bed
Memories of me and my sister
Jumbled with Robinson Crusoe
Are these characters the toys from the tales of my childhood?
Man, I can’t believe Dickens keeps plugging SWM – that’s so nice
A magic bell rings in my ears
The Play Begins
A Devoted Puppy Dog
Sassigacity – what a word!
Let’s bring sassigacity back into fashion
Back into the dull, settled world
Pining for Fairy Immortality
Back to this toy theatre
Lights and oils, so many things
School books shut up lower down on the tree
Memories of childhood school
Memories of a gate opening at night
The distant clatter of a herd of deer on the hard frost
We come to the house
A smell of roasted chestnuts
A time for telling winter stories around the tree
An old house full of chimneys
Friendly friends carved to hold up our bed
Musing about a great many things
This story is getting pretty meta with all these SWM plugs, Charles
You know, Charles, there’s a whole festival all about you
This house is a calming place
This house is full of bedtime stories from history
This transcends time and place
The calm is waiting everywhere
Tradition to go on a carriage ride after breakfast
Thinking of friends we’ve known
A broad walk of gathering flowers
A tale of people riding horses calmly
Moving without feet
French windows and horses passing by you
Introducing our cousins to each other
All we need is a sense of connectedness
And everyone can now kiss their shoulders and have a peace of mind
Now the story has become about Scoots
Scoots somewhat enjoys Grape Nuts now as an adult
Let us draw close to a warm fireplace
The Calm of These Stories We Share
All are welcome around the tree, including Brainbots
This is a commemoration of love and kindness
Thanks to Chuck D and the other Chuck D, too
REFERRAL PROGRAM THANKS
Eryn; Anne C; Cool Guy; Megan D; Carol D; Ashley W; Cerwys; Jackie B; Shanna; Jed; Karen; Natasha; Malik; Brianne; Erin; Syord
Title: Dickens Tree Reading
Deep Dark Night United: Pam (Helix Sleep)
Plugs: Hand in Hand; The Midnight Mission; Trevor Project; Sleep With Me Plus; SleepPhones; Emily Tat Artwork; NAPAWF; Anti-Racism Resources; Ukraine Relief; Crisis Textline; Referral Program
Sponsors: Wild Health; Hello Fresh; Polysleep; Odoo; Helix Sleep; Air Doctor Pro; Zocdoc; Progressive
Referral Program Thanks: Eryn; Anne C; Cool Guy; Megan D; Carol D; Ashley W; Cerwys; Jackie B; Shanna; Jed; Karen; Natasha; Malik; Brianne; Erin; Syord
- Cave-Aged Thank You Note
- Tantric Thank You Noting
- A Sweatshirt Full of Thank You Notes
- Innumerable Twigs
- Canceling the Fiction of a Staircase
- Dreadfully interesting double-headed friends
- Exceedingly Indistinct
- Dickensian Tones
- Charles Dickens
- Great Expectations
- The Spin Doctors
- “A Christmas Tree”
- Peep Show
- Elf on the Shelf
- Little Red Riding Hood
- Noah’s Ark
- Robinson Crusoe
- The Bear
- Grape Nuts
- Chuck D
Notable Talking Points:
- Thoughts about Thanks
- Don’t overthink the Thank You Notes
- I get in my head about Thank You notes
- Other things grab my attention before thanking people
- My Internal Nana is always keeping score about my thank you notes score
- Is this a dry-aged Thank You note?
- These Thank You notes were a great vintage
- I like to let my thank you notes age over time
- 2003 was a great year for Mass Market Thank You Notes
- I have a box of free stuff that my landlord says I can’t put on the corner
- No wonder Pip was stressed with those Great Expectations
- Please don’t have expectations about my reading Great Expectations
- Tantric Thank You Noting
- Don’t worry, “tantric” is purely a marketing term
- I don’t think I have time to talk about sweating anymore
- Scooter was talking about a sweatshirt full of thank you notes
- My semi-annual Spin Doctors reference
- I’ll be reading a Charles Dickens holiday tale tonight
- I’m gonna read a Dickens story in my own way
- I don’t do a lot of reading on this podcast normally
- 1850 – “A Christmas Tree”
- How can a tree be planted on a table, dude?
- I like the phrase innumerable twigs
- What’s an 8-day clock?
- Oh you only have to wind it every 8 days – pretty cool
- Sweet Meat Boxes
- Do you watch the TV show on the Peep Show Boxes
- This motley collection of odd objects on the tree
- I guess Dickens would be part of the Deep Dark Night United
- Dickens is going back into his own memory
- Oh cool, Dickens has shrunk down under the tree?
- This sounds like an old Elf on the Shelf thing
- The cardboard man hung against the wall and pulled by string
- Memories of old toys
- How could a horse become wooden?
- A wagon of cheeses
- Ah, the Doll’s House that I visited
- Man, Dickens is describing old toys just like I do
- Oh, the warming pan!
- Little thin books would hang on the tree
- Dreadfully interesting double-headed friends
- Did one Jack do all those nursery rhymes?
- Little Red Riding Hood was his first love??
- Oh, the wonderful Noah’s Ark!
- All common things become uncommon and enchanted to me
- None of those silly rhymes were Dickens, btw
- I see a fairy light when I wake in bed
- Memories of me and my sister
- Jumbled with Robinson Crusoe
- Are these characters the toys from the tales of my childhood?
- Man, I can’t believe Dickens keeps plugging SWM – that’s so nice
- A magic bell rings in my ears
- The Play Begins
- A Devoted Puppy Dog
- Sassigacity – what a word!
- Let’s bring sassigacity back into fashion
- Back into the dull, settled world
- Pining for Fairy Immortality
- Back to this toy theatre
- Lights and oils, so many things
- School books shut up lower down on the tree
- Memories of childhood school
- Memories of a gate opening at night
- The distant clatter of a herd of deer on the hard frost
- We come to the house
- A smell of roasted chestnuts
- A time for telling winter stories around the tree
- An old house full of chimneys
- Friendly friends carved to hold up our bed
- Musing about a great many things
- This story is getting pretty meta with all these SWM plugs, Charles
- You know, Charles, there’s a whole festival all about you
- This house is a calming place
- This house is full of bedtime stories from history
- This transcends time and place
- The calm is waiting everywhere
- Tradition to go on a carriage ride after breakfast
- Thinking of friends we’ve known
- A broad walk of gathering flowers
- A tale of people riding horses calmly
- Moving without feet
- French windows and horses passing by you
- Introducing our cousins to each other
- All we need is a sense of connectedness
- And everyone can now kiss their shoulders and have a peace of mind
- Now the story has become about Scoots
- Scoots somewhat enjoys Grape Nuts now as an adult
- Let us draw close to a warm fireplace
- The Calm of These Stories We Share
- All are welcome around the tree, including Brainbots
- This is a commemoration of love and kindness
- Thanks to Chuck D and the other Chuck D, too
Episode 1221 – Dickens Tree Reading
[START OF RECORDING]
SCOOTER: Friends beyond the binary, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, it’s time for the podcaster who’s here for one of the first times in the show to read you a story, but it’s more of a paraphrase full of meanders. So, this will be fun. Always something new for you to barely pay attention to if you’re…now, if you’re new to the show, welcome. This is Sleep With Me, the podcast that puts you to sleep. But let me tell you a little bit more about it. First of all, most people don’t like this show when they first find it, but I hope you give it a few tries so that you could see if the podcast can help you fall asleep or take your mind off of stuff or get back to sleep or give you a distraction during the day.
Or, really, what the show about…is about is cutting through the loneliness in the deep, dark night and giving you something other than whatever is keeping you awake to focus on, something that’s a little bit silly and a little bit goofy. But I’m really feeling thankful when I’m recording the show. Also sweaty, but…thankful and sweaty; who would have known you could feel those two things at the same time? But maybe I’ll tell you why I’m sweaty in the intro. Not sweat…I’m not sweating my sweat. That’s how honest I am. But really, I’m thankful I get to make this show. My sleep goes up and down, and when I hear from somebody else I help, it just…it puts things in perspective, that I get to help other people that are going through something that I struggle with too, or that I could be your companion and at least make it not full of dread and not…that you don’t have to do it alone.
We all get to go through this in different ways together and have a little bit of fun while we’re doing it, really. I mean, what could be more fun than me talking about synthetic materials and sweating, maybe, in a few minutes? So, welcome to Sleep With Me. If you’re new, give the show a few tries. Only…there’s no benefit to us, so if you already loathe the show, sleepwithmepodcast.com/nothankyou has other sleep podcasts you could check out, and sleepy stuff. But that’s just what about a million people have said over the ten years we’ve been making the show; it took two or three tries to get used to the…realize the show never made any sense. What works about it is it never makes any sense. So, give it a few tries. See how it goes.
What we got coming up is…most people enjoy the show, the version that you’re listening to, a ad-supported version. They listen linearly, so our structure of the show is based on that. It eases you into bedtime. So, first we’re gonna have support so paying for the show is optional, then a long, meandering intro meant to ease you into bedtime or as you get ready for bed, and then a bedtime story from Charles Dickens, of all people, later on, with plenty of pointless meanders from Scoots. So, thanks so much for coming by, and thanks for making it possible, my bore-friends.
INTRO: [INTRO MUSIC] Hey, are you up all night tossing, turning, mind racing? Trouble getting to sleep? Trouble staying asleep? Well, welcome. This is Sleep With Me, the podcast that puts you to sleep. We do it with a bedtime story. Alls you need to do is get in bed, turn out the lights, and press Play. I’m gonna do the rest. What I’m going to attempt to do is create a safe place where you could set aside whatever’s keeping you awake, whether that’s thoughts, things that are…you’re thinking about, thoughts about the past, the present, the future, things on your mind, thinking thoughts, thoughts that are thinking, thinking. Thoughts about thanks. This is the time of year where you start thinking about thank-you notes. Don’t overthink it; thank-you notes.
It’s been pointed out to me…it’s…that’s one of the many areas I’m lacking in. But I’m thankful…like I said, I’m thankful I get to make this show. Thank you. That’s where I do assume…but yeah, so, you could have those same thoughts. You say, oh boy…I don't know if I’ve ever thought this; I hope I don't get any gifts this year so I don't have to say thank-you. I mean, I do say thank-you in person or by text, or I say, hey, tell them thanks. I do mean my genuine thanks. But here’s the thing; I don't want to make excuses. It’s mostly because I got a lot of…I let other things…let’s see how to softly put this. Other things grab my attention, internal things, before thanking people. But also, I’m not trying to say…I mean, not very many people are…there’s only one or two people in my life that say, oh, are you gonna send a thank-you note?
One is my internal nana, so maybe there’s three, because my internal nana’s always keeping…my internal nana, always keeping score. Is the score accurate? She would say so. Can a score have negative points? Ask my internal nana. She knows. Nana; she always knows. She’s always keeping score, my internal nana. Oh, so…but my handwriting’s not very good, anyway. You’d also say, is this an age…? This is funny. It just is the truth. That’s the only reason I’m laughing, is…you say, is this a dry-aged thank-you note? I say, it’s not vintage but I’m sensing that this…these thank-you notes were purchased in 2000…is this a 2007 purchase of…? Did you purchase these seasonal thank-you cards in 2007? I did. Yeah, these are…believe it or not, yeah, these are…I guess you could say they’re dry-aged thank-you notes.
They’ve been…they’re, whatever, twenty-three minus…three…so, twenty-seven…couldn’t it just be…could they be from 2003 and…? Yeah, these are twenty-year-aged…they’re not technically cave-aged, but I would like to say they’re cave-aged thank-you notes. But yeah, they’re a great vintage. They’re not vintage, you know, 'cause I really wanted to get something with a twenty-year…you know, I got a fifteen-year…maybe…I don't know. I have no idea. But maybe…you say, well, this is…is this a seven-year thank-you…? Oh yeah, a seven-year, dry-aged…with some…at different times there was different humidities as it aged, 'cause…and also, we moved it from place to place. You know, aged in the cover of darkness so as not to damage its delivery of my thanks to you…that will be illegible.
But that could be a cool exchange. If I get another shot at this down the road, we’ll say, that would be pretty cool. You say, whoa boy, that was…this was…that was a great…2003 was a great year for mass-market thank-you notes that you buy. I’d say, wow, you must have the greatest…you’re the greatest gratitude list person in the world if you’re thanking me for my thank-you note. ‘Cause really, it’s not…I mean, it is dry-aged. We’ll just say that because it’s just been sitting in the bottom of…it’s moved, too. I’m telling you the truth; somewhere where I live, unless by some grace of goodness, the only other place it could have gone is…I haven’t really put a box…I have a box full of kitchen stuff because I’m not allowed…my landlord said no putting boxes on the corner, of free stuff.
But I have a box of free stuff that I keep meaning to…I’ll just bring it somewhere. But I don't think you could bring a open box of thank-you notes. I mean, maybe…they say, we’ve been waiting for this, man. We got a whole display. 2003’s Greatest Things…2003’s Thank-You Note…Thank-You Notes of…The Thank-You Notes of 2003. Oh, wait a second, did you tune in for a sleep podcast? Well, you must be in the right place. Thank you for coming by. There’s your thank-you message. I don't know. So, thoughts…I have thoughts, obviously. I mean, that was…thoughts, feelings, anything coming up for you emotionally, any physical sensations, changes in time, temperature, routine, external or internal expectations…you say, talk about pressure; Great Expectations.
No wonder Pip was so stressed. You say, could you just…could you do some…hey Charles, could you do something more…Moderate Expectations? No, no, no, not Low Expectations. Come on. You say, how about No Expectations, or just Expectations? Question mark. But no…yeah, I can’t…no, no, please…no, I did read the book in high school, but I don't…I’m sorry. But it sounds like your expectations were…it sounds like you had expectations about my reading Great Expectations. Yeah, Pip, I’m familiar with Pip and…if I really get into it, I probably could uncover other things.
But we won't be reading Great Expectations tonight, so…oh, so, okay, thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, expectations, whatever’s keeping you awake…the only reason I go through that is so you know you’re not alone, that there’s someone listening and that I, who make the podcast, I’m here for you because I know how it feels in the deep, dark night. I know how it feels to struggle to get to sleep or get enough sleep, to toss and turn, to over…to have different things when I lay my head down. That’s really what goes through my mind; that whole tangent about thank-you notes. The only reason it’s funny is because we’re talking about it…like, I’m talking about it 'cause I know you can relate in some manner, and that’s really what the podcast is about. I say, yeah, I might not have been through that same thing.
I’ve never even conceived of making up a convoluted story that my thank-you notes are…I could say, oh, no, no, I’m holding it for you. I’m gonna send it to you when…later when it’s really special. You say, like slow…you’re talking slow delivery? Is this tantric thank-you noting? Are we talking…are we discovering new…? Oh yeah, I deliver the thank-you…I buy the thank-you notes in 2003, write it in 2023, deliver it 20…whatever. You say, think about the joy it could bring. Somebody get Sting on the phone. See if Sting’s interested in this. We could run with it. Tantric thank-you notes. You say, I don't think that’s any…I don't think that’s a accurate portrayal of any of those things. Well, it’s better than…we had a winner with dry-aged, so I figured we might as well double down.
Or tantric delivery of thank-you notes; I guess that’s probably not tantric. But you say, slow delivery just doesn’t have the oomph, you know? It’s a market…I’m using…yes, I’m using tantric as a marketing term. Luckily it’s an imaginary, nonsensical marketing campaign for really deflecting the fact that I don't write thank-you notes. So, whatever’s keeping you awake, I’m here to keep you company and take your mind off of stuff. One, because I can relate, and two, because you deserve a good night’s sleep. You deserve a place you could get some rest, get the sleep you need. So, that’s why I make the show. What I’ll do is I’ll send my voice across the deep, dark night. I’m gonna use lulling, soothing, creaky, dulcet tones, pointless meanders, and superfluous tangents, which means…which you’ve already seen.
We’ve had a pointless meander and superfluous…the pointless meander was the first one, and then it was superfluous 'cause you said, you’re still…is he still talking about thank-you notes? I thought he was gonna talk about sweating and…I said, well, I don't know if I have time anymore. So, we’ll see. Maybe I’ll…the only reason I’m sweating is because I went running, came home, gave my dog a bath, then cleaned myself afterwards, like separately. I gave my dog a outside bath 'cause it was sunny and warm, then cleaned myself indoors. Then got…I kept it warm. I needed…I wanted to warm myself up. Then I took my dog for a walk thinking it would fully cool me down, but I needed a sweatshirt now to go for the walk because I was sweating from my shower. I was aerobicizing in there, yeah, for sure.
I was just doing a little Zumba, you know? Not really, no. But then I put my sweatshirt on, then I said, when I get home from walking the dog, I’m gonna take…do a podcast intro for the episode we recorded yesterday. So, here we are. Now, luckily, the sweatshirt I’m sweating in is made from, whatever, plastic? I don't even know what it’s made from. Poly-something. So, it doesn’t mind. So, anyway, so…send my voice…that may have been a superfluous…no, that was actually not superfluous 'cause I said I would talk about it. I wanted to respect your expectations. Say, my expectations have been met. You talked about sweating. So, structure of the show…what do I talk about next? Oh, this is a podcast…believe it or…you may be surprised, even if you’re new, to learn this.
This is a podcast you just barely listen to, kinda like elevated background noise, but you can listen, or you can just kinda barely listen. There’s people that listen to me at a mumble that do not hear anything I say, and then there’s people that listen until they fall asleep or listen when they wake up, or people that play the podcast all night. But at first, just kinda see how it goes, because for most people the conversation tomorrow will look like, what did Scoots talk about last night? I don't know, a sweatshirt full of thank…I think the story was a sweatshirt full of thank-you notes or something. Oh, Scoots. Sounds just like him. I think, yeah, he changed that…you know how he always brings up the Spin Doctors every eighty-fifth episode? The two-hit wonder, by the way, not a one-hit wonder, in the…no, was it the nineties?
He said, yeah, I gotta…I think he’s saying…'cause he can’t sing on the podcast, but he alluded to the fact that he had a sweatshirt full of thank-you notes, maybe. Maybe not. Maybe I fell asleep and dreamed that. I don't know. Or he could have talked about it in his fourth or fifth tangent, you know? So, it’s a podcast you just kinda barely listen to. It’s also a podcast…I’m not here to put you to sleep. I’m here to keep you company while you fall asleep. There is no pressure to fall asleep. There’s a reason the show is over an hour, so you say, oh, I got plenty of time to fall asleep. Oh, there’s over 600…there’s 601 free episodes in the ad-supported feed. So, plenty of shows to choose from so you say, okay, I got plenty to listen to.
I don't have to worry about falling asleep, because there’s people who are listening who need a break during the day or who can’t sleep, but there’s no pressure to listen or to fall asleep, whether you’re listening or not. I’m here to keep you company, to be your bore-friend, your bore-bae, your bore-sib, your bore-bud, your bore-bestie, your neigh-bore, your bore-bor, your Borbie, your bores, your bore-bud, your friend in the deep, dark night to keep you company while you drift off. So, that’s what I’m here to do, and, yeah, just keep you company and take your mind off of stuff during the day or at night or whenever, and that’s a little bit different. That is why the show takes some getting used to. Other things that take some getting used to is the structure of the show.
Now, it is structured in a very specific way, but you can alternate it. But there is a reason we structure the show…this is just the way we discovered…that you can adjust the show, but a lot of people just enjoy listening to the show linearly like we make it. So, the show starts off with a greeting; friends beyond the binary, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, so you feel seen and welcomed in. If you’re a regular listener you feel something familiar, then I try to be silly or something. You say, okay, I’m in the right place, or you say…if you’re new, you say, oh, I might check this show out. Then there’s support so the show could be free, then there’s a long, meandering intro which is separate from the support which we’re probably fifteen minutes into, meant to ease you into bedtime.
Now, there is a small percentage of people that skip the intro and a small percentage of people that fall asleep during the intro. There’s people that pay to have a ad-free experience for the show. There’s people that pay for a story-only experience of the show, but there’s also a lot of people that pay to hear only intros. So, it kinda is…as you become a regular listener, maybe you like listening to this like most people, the ad-supported linear show, or maybe you want more things. But the intro is, for most people, something that eases you into bedtime. It’s different every time so that whatever’s keeping you awake can’t quite adjust and start…like, my nana…say, oh, there he goes again.
I did not…like I said, I thought I was gonna talk about sweating in my sweatshirt, but instead I talked about thank-you notes and came up…I brainstormed some solutions about…or, I mean, some would say…my nana would say, excuses. So, yeah, so that’s…oh, so that’s the intro. It’s just meant to ease you into bedtime. A lot of people listen as they’re getting ready for bed or doing some chill activity or getting in bed and getting comfortable. The intro could put you to sleep, but it doesn’t need to. It’s just meant to kinda soften the old pillow. Then there’s support, then it’ll be a bedtime story. Tonight I’ll be reading a Charles Dickens holiday tale that was quite surprising, but don't worry; I made it my own, full of meanders.
Even had to look a couple things up and couldn’t even find some of them. I already forgot the cool word that I looked up that was a Dickensian word. So, that…then there’s that, and then there’s thank-yous at the end. So, that’s the structure of the show. That’s why I make the show. I’m really, really glad you’re here. I really hope this podcast can help you, 'cause for the people it does that become regular listeners or just listen as they’re going through something, either way, they say, hey, this is what I was looking for. I had no idea…couldn’t quite put it into words.
Neither can you, Scoots. But yeah, this is what I was trying to find, kinda like TV on or music on in two rooms over, but kinda like my friend hanging out and chilling in my room with no pressure, just telling me a story to put me to sleep. So, give it a few tries. See how it goes. I’m glad you’re here. I work really hard. So do a bunch of other people. We all yearn and I strive and we all really want to help you fall asleep. Thanks again for coming by, and here’s a couple ways we’re able to do it for you for free twice a week.
Alright everybody, Scoots here, and we’re doing something different for the holiday season that we haven’t…I don't think I’ve ever done this before, but I was trying to think of…I don't know. I go to the Dickens Fair and I’ve read Dickens books in the past, but I know there’s some Charles Dickens short stories that I haven’t read. So, I thought I’d kinda read and paraphrase and see how much story we get through. Maybe the second half we’ll put out on Patreon or maybe it’ll be two episodes. I don't know. But I thought it would be fun to read through a Dickens story or two. I don't do a lot of reading on this podcast, so it might be something people enjoy. We could see and go from there. So, this one is from 1850, A Christmas Tree.
I’ve been looking on this evening at a merry company of children assembled round that pretty German toy, a Christmas tree. The tree was planted in the middle of a great, round table. What do you mean? How is it planted on a table, dude? Towered high above their heads…Dickens would say, expand your vocabulary, son. It was brilliantly lighted by a multitude of little tapers, and everywhere sparkled and glittered with bright objects. There were rosy-cheeked dolls hiding behind the green leaves, and there were real watches with moveable hands and an endless capacity of being wound up, dangling from innumerable twigs. Innumerable twigs; I like that.
There were French polished chairs, tables, bedsteads, wardrobes, eight-day clocks…huh, I wonder what a eight-day clock…I guess we already gotta pause and look up what a eight-day clock is. Sleep With Me…E-I-G-H-T…oh, I hit W. E-I-G-H-T, eight-day clock. Okay, let’s see what comes up. Okay, this is…an eight-day clock is defined by its internal movement. A one-a-day clock requires winding once a day where a eight-day clock, especially a cuckoo clock, runs for approximately one week on a single winding. So, it is one of those…the modern technology, I think. That’s cool. That’s not a lot of winding. Okay, wardrobes, articles of furniture wonderfully made in tin at Wolverhampton, perched among the boughs as if in preparation for some fairy housekeeping.
There were jolly, broad-faced elven beings much more agreeable in appearance than humans. No wonder. Wow, this is cool; no wonder, for when you opened them up, they were full of sugar plums. There were fiddles and drums, there were tambourines, books, work boxes, paintboxes, sweet meat boxes, peepshow boxes…I think that’s where you can watch the comedy program, not…there is a famous…in England there was…and, I don't know, I shouldn’t even…but it has nothing to do with…it was…what do you call that, improv? Or, no; sketch comedy, sketch comedy. In all kinds of boxes there were trinkets for elder girls, far brighter than any grown-up gold and jewels. There were baskets and pincushions and all devices. There was squirters and things to eat your meals with, and banners.
There was cut-outs of Lady Witchbeard standing in enchanted rings of pasteboard to see the future. Humming tops, needle cases, pen-wipe…what’s a pen-wiper? Smelling bottles, conversation cards, bouquet holders, real fruit made artificially dazzling with gold leaf, imitation apples, pears, and walnuts crammed with surprises. In short, as a child before me delightfully whispered to another child, there was everything and more. This motley collection of odd objects clustering on the tree like magic fruit and flashing back the bright looks directed towards it from every side. Some of the diamond eyes admiring it were hardly on a level with the table, and few were languishing with mothers and aunts.
A lively realization of the fancies of childhood sent me thinking how all the trees that grow and all the things that come into existence on the Earth have their wild adornments at that well-remembered time. Being now at home again and alone and the only person in the house awake…should…Dickens, man, check out Sleep With Me podcast, the podcast that keeps you company, ‘cause I guess Dickens was one of us. My thoughts are drawn back by a fascination I do not care to resist to my own childhood. I begin to consider what we do all remember best upon the branches of the tree of our own days by which we climbed to real life.
Straight in the middle of the room, cramped in the freedom of its growth by no encircling walls or a soon-reached ceiling, a shadowy tree arises, and looking up into the dreamy brightness of its top, for I observe in this tree the singular property that it appears to grow downwards towards the Earth. I look into my youngest Christmas recollections. All toys at first I find up yonder among the green…so, you’d think he’s shrunken down. This is cool. Up yonder among the green holly and red berries is the tumbler with his hands in his pockets who wouldn’t lie down. But whatever he was…whenever he was put upon the floor, persisted in rolling about until he rolled himself still, brought the eyes of his upon me which I affected to laugh very much. But in my heart of hearts, I was pretty unsure about him.
So, this kinda sounds like the old Elf on the Shelf, their version of it, the rolling ball dude. Close beside him is that infernal snuffbox, out of which there sprang…holy cow…oh, this is a wind-up thing with a counsellor in a gown, an obnoxious head of hair and a red cloth mouth, laughing, not to be endured on any terms but which could not be put away, either, for he suddenly in his highly-magnified state popped out of the mammoth snuffboxes of my dreams when least expected. Nor is the frog with the cobbler’s wax on his tail far off, for there was no knowing where he couldn’t jump. When he flew over the candle and came upon one’s hand with that spotted back, red on green ground, it was a sight to see.
The cardboard lady in the blue silk skirt who stood up against the candlestick to dance and whom I see on the same branch was milder and was beautiful. But I can’t say much for the larger cardboard man who used to be hung against the wall and pulled by string. There was quite a expression that I wasn’t so sure about, and he could put his legs around in strange shapes. Didn’t want to hang out with him solo. What about that that looked upon me? Who put it on? Why didn’t I like it? Even though it was the happy face made of paper, I’d rather have it put away. The mere recollection of a fixed face, the mere knowledge of its existence anywhere was sufficient for me to try to listen to episodes of Sleep With Me one after another after another. I never wondered why the dear old donkey with the…how do you say that?
Panniers? Panner…P-A-N-N-I-E-R-S, the things you put on your bikes. There he is. What was he made of then? Real to the touch, I recollect, and also the horse with the spotted round, the horse I could even get upon. Never wondered how the horse had became wooden or thought that such a horse was not commonly seen at Newmarket, four horses of no color next to him that went into the wagon of cheeses that could be taken out and stabled under the piano and appear to have bits of fur…fur tippet for tails and other for their manes, to stand upon pegs instead of legs, but it was not so and they were brought home for the presents. They were alright then. Neither was their harness unceremoniously glued back to their chests, as appears to be the case now.
The tinkling works of the music cart I did find out to be made of quill toothpicks and wire. I always thought that the little tumbler in his shirt sleeves, perpetually swarming up one side of a wooden frame and coming down, head foremost on the other…good-natured was the Jacob's ladder, next to him made of squares of red wood that went flapping and clattering over one another, each developing a different picture. The whole, enlivened by small bells, was a mighty marvel and a great delight. Ah, the doll’s house of which I was not proprietor but which I visited. I don't admire the Houses of Parliament half so much as this stone-fronted mansion with real glass windows and doorsteps and a real balcony, greener than I ever see now except at watering places, and even though they afford but a poor imitation.
Though it did open all at once, the entire house front, which was a blow, I admit, as the ceiling, the fiction of a staircase…though it did open all at once, the entire house front…which was a blow, I admit, as the canceling…the fiction of a staircase was but to shut it up again and I could believe. Man, Dickens was a lot like me. What do you mean I can’t live in this dollhouse? Even open, there were three distinct rooms in it; a sitting room, a bedroom, elegantly furnished, and best of all, a kitchen with uncommonly soft fire irons, a plentiful assortment of diminutive utensils. Oh, the warming pan and a tin man cook in profile who was always going to fry two fish.
The noble feasts were in a set of wooden platters figured each with its own peculiar delicacy; a ham or turkey glued tight to it and garnished with something green which I recollect is moss. Could all the temperance…side of these later days united give me such a drinking tea as I’ve had through the many means of yonder, a little set of blue crockery which would really hold liquid. It ran out of a small wooden cask, I recollect, and tasted of matches, and which made tea nectar. If the two legs of the ineffectual little sugar tongs did tumble over one another in what purpose, like punch his hands. What did it matter? If I did once shriek out as a child and strike the fashionable company with consternation by reason I’ve drunk a little teaspoon inadvertently dissolved in too-hot tea, I was never worst for it except by a powder.
Upon the next branches of the tree, lower down, hard by the green roller and miniature gardening tools, how thick the books begin to hang. Thin books in themselves at first, but many of them, and with deliciously smooth covers of bright red or green. What fat black letters to begin with. An archer and a frog…of course he was. He was apple pie, also, and there he is. He was many good things in his time, was A, and so were his friends except X who had so little versatility that I never knew him to get beyond Xerxes or something, like Y, who was always a yacht or a yew tree, and a zebra, always…or, Z, always stuck being a zebra or zany. But now, the very tree changes itself and becomes a beanstalk, the marvelous beanstalk up which Jack climbed to the giant’s house.
Those dreadfully interesting double-headed friends carrying sticks for walking on their shoulders stride along the boughs in a perfect line, holding hands with knights and ladies, taking them to dinner, and Jack, how noble, ready to help make dinner. Shoes of swiftness…again, those old meditations come upon me as I gaze up at him, and I debate within myself whether there was more than one Jack, with I am loathe to believe possible, or only one genuine, admirable Jack who achieved all the recorded exploits. Good for Christmastime as the ruddy color of the cloak in which the tree, making a forest of itself for her trip through with her little basket, Little Red Riding Hood comes to me one Christmas Eve to give me information about that forest friend, and then kissed her after making a joke about her getting…brushing her…you know, things in her mouth.
She was my first love. I felt that I could have married Little Red Riding Hood. If I could have, I should have been known to perfect bliss, but it was not to be and there was nothing for it but to look out for her puppy-pooh. He put them in the Noah’s Ark. Late in the procession on the table, oh, the wonderful Noah’s Ark. It was not found seaworthy when put in a washing tub, and the animals were crammed in the roof and not…and needed to have their legs well shaken-down before they got in. Even there and then, ten to one, but they began to tumble out of the door which was but imperfectly fashioned with a wire latch. But what that was against it, consider the noble fly, a size or two smaller than the elephant. The lady bird, the butterfly, all triumphs of the art.
Consider the goose whose feet were small and whose balance was so indifferent that he usually tumbled forward and knocked down all the animal creation. Consider Noah and his family, warm hands, tales of forest friends, hush again…a forest and somebody up in a tree; not Robin Hood, not Valentine, not anyone yellow. I’ve passed and seen all of Mother Bunch’s wonders without a mention, but there glittering, kings and queens and royalty down upon the grass, something you would find sleeping, a couple, head in one another’s laps, relaxing and looking at the clouds with keys to Cupid’s heart, wondering. Now, all common things become uncommon and enchanted to me. All lamps are wonderful. All rings are talismans. Common flowerpots are full of treasure.
And with a little earth scattered on top, trees are for all until we reach the valley and find precious stones and find eagles that carry string to their nest. Whence people say to the birds, hi, birds, hi, birds, and cook tarts and pastries and set them down, go through gates in cobble shoes and make up dinners, soups made of stone and fruits and of course, roots. Maybe beans…they give some toots. None of that is Dickens, though. They pass through rings of stone and iron and go through caves, see magic performed by a campfire, and they dance until the Earth shakes. All dates imported come from the same tree and all olives of fresh are fruit, and a boy tells a tale about olives and apples. People wear garments of sequin. Puppy dogs give kisses.
Bakers sell their wares. Rice is ready to be served, and rice pudding as well, and other grains ready to go, even night grains to eat at nighttime, and my very rocking-horse there, who seems to breathe through their nostrils, by virtue ready to fly away with me on my next adventure. Yes, every object that I recognize among those upper branches of the Christmas tree…I see a fairy light when I wake in bed at daybreak on the cold, dark winter morning. The white snow dimly beheld outside through the frost on the windowpane, I hear her. Sister, sister, if you are yet awake, I pray you finish your tales. Please tell me those tales. I will finish and tell you yet more. We breathe again.
At the height of my tree, I begin to see cowering among the leaves a turkey or pudding or a pie or these fancies jumbled with Robinson Crusoe on an island, and Philip and their friends and Sanford and Merton, Barlow, Mother Bunch…or maybe it’s from…am I…of enjoyment of the delights, the delights and my imagination, over-prodigious, exceedingly indistinct, and I don't know why, but it is. I can only make out an immense array of things somewhat shapeless which appear to be planted on a vast exaggeration of pine boughs. Could these be the toy stories from the tales or toy drummers slowly coming close to my eyes and receding to an immeasurable distance? When it comes closest, I am not sure about it.
In connection with it, remembrances of winter nights incredibly long, being sent to bed early without supper for a small offence, waking in two hours with the sensation of being asleep for two nights and of laden feelings that I should again listen to yet Sleep With Me, of morning ever-dawning and the weight of the night relieved by a rambling rambler. Now I see a wonderful row of little lights rise smoothly out of the ground before a vast curtain. Now a bell rings, a magic bell, which still sounds in my ears unlike all other bells. The music plays amidst a buzz of voices, a fragrant smell of orange peel and oil. Anon, the magic bell commands the music to cease and the great green curtain rolls itself up majestically, and the play begins. A devoted puppy dog sniffs for a place to take a break in the forest.
Humor…and maybe someone with a little hat who says hello, whom I take this hour forth as a friend. Maybe we go to the village in for a snacky-pooh. But how many years have passed since he and I have met? Remarks and the…holy cow, sassigassity? Dictionary…no definition found. Really? Sorry, Charles. Oh, here we go; Mental Floss’ Seven Delightfully Dickensian Words. This is from 2016. Sassigassity; this word for audacity with asitute…attitude. It was coined by Dickens. Never caught on. Maybe we could get it to catch on; sassigassity. Sassigassity. Sassigassity. It’s kinda like sassafras but with gas; sassigassity. If you’re gonna be in one of those things, I doubt it would come up 'cause it’s not in…sassigassity. I already lost where it was, but S-A-S-S-agacity. A wonderful bell, anon…oh, the magic bell rings majestically.
Where did sassigassity go? Did I lose my page? Sorry, Charles and everybody. This is typical Sleep With Me, though. Oh, my friend…yeah, remarks of the sassigassity of the puppy. It’s surprising. The evermore jocular conceit will live in my memory…my remembrance, fresh and unfading, over-topping all possible jokes onto the end of time, for now I learn other stories, stories so long ago I can’t remember many of the details. But some come upon me to comfort me; pantomime, stupendous phenomenon, when friends with big shoes dance around into the great chandelier, bright constellation that it is, covered all over with gold and twist and sparkle. Pantaloon, whom I deem no irreverence to compare in my own mind to my grandfather. They have things like, here’s somebody coming, or other jokes they say.
I’ve seen you. Everything is capable and with greatest ease being changed into anything. Nothing is, but thinking makes it so. Now too, I perceive my first experience of the sensation often returned later of being unable the next day to get back to the dull, settled world, of wanting to live forever and the bright atmosphere I have quitted, of doting on the little fairy with the wand like a celestial pole, and pining for a fairy immortality along with her. Ashe comes back in many shapes and my eye wanders down the branches of the tree and goes as often and has never yet stayed by me. Wow, that’s good, man. I relate. Out of this delight springs the toy theatre. There, with its familiar…oh, this is a word I can’t pronounce. Proscenium? I’ll look it up. It’s the front of the theater.
Feathers, boxes…its attendant occupation with paste and glue and gum and watercolors, and the getting up of the miller, the men, Elizabeth…in spite of a few besetting things, ups and downs, particularly unreasonable disposition, and some the double-up of the exciting points of the drama, teeming worlds of fancy so suggestive and all-embracing that far below it on my tree, I see the beauty of the dimmer, real theatres in the daytime adorned with these associations as with the freshest garlands of the rarest flowers and charming Miette. But hark, the waits are playing, and they do break my childish sleep. What images do I associate with this music I see set forth on the tree known before all the others, keeping far apart from the others?
They gather round on my little bed, an angel speaking to a group of shepherds in the field, some travelers’ eyes uplifted following a star, baby in a manger, child in a temple, people talking, and gates…people looking through, people in boats, walking, cooking, lights and oils. So many things. So many candles for different ways to celebrate in our world. Still lower on the mature branches of the tree, associations cluster thick, schoolbooks shut up, Ovid and Virgil silenced, the Rule of Three with its cool, impertinent inquiries long disposed of. This is stuff that’s way beyond my…of Terrance and Plautus, acted no more. Terrance and Plautus…let’s look that up. Can we look up…? Here we go. Nothing.
In the arena of huddled desks and forms all chipped and notched and inked, cricket bats, stumps and balls left higher up with the smell of trod and grass, and its soft noises are shouts in the evening air. The tree is still fresh and festive. If I no more come home, there will be friends. When the world lasts and they do, yonder they dance and play upon the branches of the tree. Bless them merrily. My heart dances, too. I do come home. We all do or could, or come somewhere to call home. Like Ray says, you don’t have to have a father figure to be a father figure. That metaphor can translate well beyond that statement. You could do a short holiday or longer or better, depending on how you define that.
Wherever we are or ever working at our arithmetical slates to take and give a rest, as we go a-visiting or caroling or clomping, as we heard last year, where can we not go if we will? Where have we not been when we would, starting our fancy from our tree? A way into the winter prospect. There are many such upon the tree, on by low-lying misty grounds through ferns and fogs up on long hills, winding paths between thick trees, the trees almost shutting out the sparkling stars. So, on broad heights until we stop at last with sudden silence at an avenue, the gate bell has a deep sound in the frosty air. The gate swings open on its hinges and as we drive upon the house, the glancing lights grow larger in the windows and the opposing row of trees seems to fall solemnly back on either side to give us place.
At intervals all day, a hair across the whitened turf or the distant clatter of a herd of deer in the hard frost has, for a minute, crushed the silence, too. Their watchful eyes beneath the fern may be shining now if we could see them, like the icy dewdrops on the leaves. But they are still and all is still, and so, the light’s growing larger and the trees falling back before us and closing up again behind us as if to forbid retreat. We come to the house. There is probably a smell of roasted chestnuts and other good, comfortable things all the time, for we were telling winter stories or tales around the tree and the fire and the fireplace. We have never stirred except to draw a little nearer to it.
But no matter what we came to the house, for it is an old house full of chimneys where wood and old logs on the hearth and portraits, some of them with legends, too, lower from the oaken panels of the walls. Here, a middle-aged nobleman who makes a generous supper with our host and hostess as their guests, it being the holiday season in this old house full of company…and then we go to bed. Our room is a very old room. It is hung with tapestry. We’re not so sure about this portrait of a cavalet, green over the fireplace. Beams on the ceiling. There is a great bedstead supported at the foot by figures who seem to have come off and be friendly friends to hold up our bed, keeping us company in our particular accommodation, but we…you know, we don’t overthink it. We just tune into Sleep With Me.
We tell our friends, listen along with me while you support my bed. We’ll share some time at the fireplace in our dressing gown, musing about a great many things. But at length we go to bed. Well, we can’t sleep. We toss and tumble. We can’t sleep. Again, Charles…Sleep With Me podcast that puts you to sleep. We do it with your bedtime story, kinda remixed. But still, the fireplace burns calmingly and makes the room look warm and cozy. We peep out over the counter-plane and we look at the flickering light who is calming and calming and calming. We tune into the podcast in reality. I’m talking as Charles. I’m talking to myself, telling myself a story, and I say, this is a foolish idea but maybe it’ll help us fall asleep.
We could just…or we could go…maybe someone could hear me through the wall panels and I’m helping them sleep, telling this tale. So, I just do it. Then I feel a door open, a door open within me, and I hear calm descend upon the house. I feel calm descend upon me and I notice that the more I speak in a calming way, the calmer I feel. I could feel the wood both absorbing and vibrating with my Dickensian tones. I wonder if I could be sitting in every bedside within this large house on this special night in this cozy, flickering fireplace, telling tales to everyone in here. What if I could tell tales across…? You say, well, you…there’s actually a fest…there’s a whole thing called the Dickens Fair that’s about you, and it’s not the only one.
Then you could wring your hands and put on a dressing gown and sit there with your hands warm, again, at the bedside of everyone who needs it. Those who don’t need it, they could still just feel the warmth of our presence passing by, for we’re here keeping one another company, in a sense. This can be done even though within my mind it says we can’t, that we should just pace the gallery ‘til daybreak and then return to our room and fall asleep and be quickly wakened, and then eat breakfast against the shining sun. All the company say, Charles, did you sleep well? But that won't have to happen. After breakfast we go over the house with our house…host and take a tour.
Our host tells us tales, that this house is a calming place, a special place where we tell tales, that the wood in the walls is meant to both absorb and vibrate with bedtime stories throughout history. Our host says, can you feel the calmness even here in the daylight? That you didn’t have…we know, Charles, you almost chose to just pace around, but instead you told a story in your own bed. But it did pass through the house, and I say that’s impossible, but they say, well, actually, there’s…have you heard of those things where you put…? There’s actually a mechanical aspect to it, too. It’s not all a ethereal, Charles. It does pass through the house through these little things within your room that look like horns or funnels.
Then I realize there’s no end to these old houses, resounding galleries, bedchambers, and wings welcoming bedtime tales that calm our backs and our fronts, too, that warm the cool night and reduce it to something much more comfortable in type and class that calmly walk across our hearts and soothe us, that help us to pass the night in a calming way whether awake or asleep or between those two. The feeling of the calming planks on the walls, that they’re there, the warmth of the room but the coolness of the window, that both are there, that this transcends time and place. No more, no less.
Always just the same, that this doesn’t just exist in this house but in another house with doors always open calmly, other doors calming, calming, calming sounds, calming stories, calming images, calming smells, calming places, calming clocks, whether eight-day clocks or clocks ready to have a cuckoo that calms you, too, that calm is even waiting, waiting near the great gates and the stable yards. It comes to pass and it comes to visit us wherever we are, even in the Scottish highlands. For those rested and those fatigued by long journeys, those who retire to bed early or those who go to bed late, those who say at the breakfast table, how odd to have so late a party last night in such a place. But I got here even after the party started and went to bed. Then people say, well, I could hear all night long a party at a distance.
Across the field, is there another house with a calm party that’s enjoyable to listen to while you’re resting with carriages driving around, but at such a distance beyond the trees and the fog that it rests me? Our host smiled and said no more. Everyone was not yet silent but hummed in a calming way. After breakfast, they said it was tradition to go on a carriage ride. So approved, we all went on a calming carriage ride and rested yet again. Then we think of friends, friends we’ve known and friends we know, friends from school, particular friends, friends we’ve made promises with, our best friend, our friend forever, friends that are near, friends that are far, friends…even when we say, I don't understand that term.
In the course of time, friends are also calming, too, and we can be friends to ourselves as Charles was to himself last night, our host said, progressing and calming. Even at night we may take diverging paths that were wide asunder, but at night, for many years, hearing these calming ideas…whether a manner of staying at a inn, whether on the Yorkshire moors or anywhere else in the world, you happen to look out of bed in there in the moonlight, you see something coming that reminds you of friendship or friends, and it’s like a calming whisper. I’m here in the deep, dark night to keep you company, as are the walls, the whole form becoming something in the moonlight that helps you stay calm, and ideas of picturesque homes, whether Elizabethan or others.
You think about homes, you think about architecture, you think about the dollhouses I listed before. You say, oh, Charles, could you tell me the tale once more tonight of a broad walk of gathering flowers, of turning my head, the picture of a story never begun and never finished that’s walking somewhere in this house even when you’re gone, calming us through the walls. A tale of an uncle or a brother or a wife riding horses calmly, mellow, mellow at an even sunset evening in a green lane. They pass by a man standing, waving, smiling at the very center of a narrow way. Look at that man waving in the cloak, we say. Does he want to ride with us or just to wave? We wave back, and the waving and smiling seemed to be enough. It’s a good sensation.
It goes through your bones and relaxes you, and we’re close to it even though we’ve ridden by. His smile and his wave is still with us, gliding along with us, gliding along the bank of a river in a curious, friendly manner, backward, forward, moving without feet. Uncles, brothers, wives, saying, why, hello. My cousin, Harry, riding by calmly on yet another horse, wondering at such calming behavior. Not dashing but calmly moving to the front of the house. We think of French windows and horses passing by them, a drawing room opening onto the grounds. We think about introducing our cousins to other people’s cousins and saying, this is my cousin. Is this your cousin? Yes, cousin. This is your cousin. We think of shows…it’s the cousin?
We say cousin, and then we say, chef, and then we say, chef. In that lane that only exists here in the walls and in our voices and in our stories, we feel calm here, this instance, together wherever we are in the world. It’s sensible, even at ninety-nine, hearing the stories in these walls, hearing the tales and the rambling and knowing the truth is this, that a story belongs to all of us. We all have this connection whatever the age. It doesn’t even have to be an uncommonly fine story which is told or heard. It just has to be a sense of presence, a sense of connectedness, that this story in this place, it cannot be held but does not need to be held, for it’s a guardian.
It’s held in passing and trust, and we know that this can be a good thing whether in a bedroom or on a couch or in a guest room, whether you went straight to bed or not, wherever in the night or the morning, composed or un-composed, forlorn or feeling pretty, prepped or un-prepped. We’re together in the deep, dark night and everybody can breathe calmly or make a sound or groan. Everybody could kiss their shoulders and have a bit of peace of mind. Or whatever’s keeping us up at night, maybe that goes downstairs with Scoots to eat Grape-Nuts and to leave us be in this cool winter night. Those forlorn thoughts could be with Scoots, listening to his tale, peeping out of the windows or whatever and saying, we’ll let them sleep and we’ll just listen to this story, a legend of this house. Is it? I don't understand.
Scoots softly opens the door and each one of these thoughts…and lets them look in. They take steps around the Grape-Nuts and Scoots tells them this doesn’t taste like grapes or nuts. But as an adult, he enjoys the flavor somewhat. But we don’t need to communicate in this part of the house because it’s just a part of a symbol, part of a calm, a part of a calm that can send anywhere; twelve hours, twenty-four hours, or no hours. In castles or not, in the day or wherever you might be, whether you have bread or grapes or a flask of old Rhine wine. These calm tales reverberate, for they were before this podcast. They’ve always been there.
They’re right here in this legion of the names of these stories that let us draw close to a fireplace…calm embers, even if we don’t have one, of those padded footstools that look like you could sit down and put your shoes on them or use them as a footstool, of the crop…vast crop of fruit shining on the tree and blossom at the very top ripening down all the boughs, among the toys and the fancies hanging there, as idle often, images once associated with waiting, of softened music. Encircled by social thoughts and the figures of the past and the present and the future of anticipation yet unchanged, every cheerful image and suggestion that the season brings may be the bright star rested upon the calming roof. A moment’s pause. Oh, vanishing tree of which the lower boughs I can’t yet see, let me look once more.
I know there are blank spaces on thy branches where eyes have shown and smiled. But far above I see more calm, the calm of these stories we share, the calm of these memories and calm, that yet we are together and yet we are not, even though this doesn’t make any sense and it’s yet unseen. We can have a child’s trustfulness and confidence. Now the tree is decorated with bright merriment and song and dance and cheerfulness. All are welcome. Innocent and welcome be they ever held, especially those brainbots that keep us up at night, beneath the branches of this tree which cast no gloomy shadow.
But as it sinks into the ground, I hear a whisper going through the leaves. This is a commemoration of love and kindness, mercy and compassion. You’re not alone in the deep, dark night. We’re all in this together. Goodnight everybody, and happy holiday season however you celebrate, even if it’s just snuggled in bed with me and you and all the other listeners out there sharing this moment together, a calming moment, and to Chuck D, Chuck D who had a big place in my childhood, and Charles Dickens, too. Goodnight.
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(Transcription performed by LeahTranscribes)