Many years after first hearing that story, I actually met someone who really does keep "Christmas in his heart" every day of the year. My mother-in-law now resides at Palms Shade Villa, an assisted-care facility here in Newton County.
Alone now, after more than 50 years of happy marriage, her world has gradually become more and more limited. Her room and a couple of common areas are the warp and woof of her existence.
Her time at Palm Shade Villa is brightened by the regular appearance of Allen Fuller and his mother Cleo. Allen faithfully plays the organ for an hour every week, rain or shine. The evening performance ends with the singing of a number of traditional hymns. Allen doesn't have a relative at the facility nor does he get paid for his performances. I don't think the singing is what keeps him coming back every week. Everyone there enjoys themselves, but we are unlikely to be offered a recording contract.
I mention Allen to point out that maybe I have been wrong all these years ago to assume that "A Christmas Carol" is just a story. Maybe Dickens was right, maybe it isn't ever too late. Not too late to transform our lives from concerns about ourselves and ours to concern for others. Not too late to keep Christmas in our hearts all year long.
I know it is possible, for I have met someone who does and have shaken his hand.
Patrick Durusau is a local resident of Covington. His column regularly appears on Fridays.