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A Bah Humbug Christmas

By: Bryan Grafton

Canyon Lake

There once was a man named Mr. Grichwald and each Christmas season he would ring a bell and collect for a charitable organization. But each year he seemed to collect less and less money, and this year he had become disenchanted, disheartened and disgusted with the whole Christmas thing itself.

Now on this chilly, wintery, bitter, cold night he stood outside a drugstore in a mini mall as a young mother and her young son approached. He rang his bell and smiled at the mother and she smiled back. She opened her pocket book to make a donation when Mr. Grichwald, and it was never known whether it was the hours in the cold or the lack of contributions that caused him to do what he did next, but Mr. Grichwald suddenly cracked and broke and blurted out, “Christmas. Bah. Humbug!”

“Pardon me,” said the startled young mother. “Did you say, “Christmas bah humbug?”

“Yah, Lady. Christmas. Bah. Humbug, What’s it to ya?”

“Well I never,” she said appalled.

To which Mr. Grinchwald replied, “Well it’s about time you did.”

He didn’t know what he meant by that but he thought it sounded clever.

“Is that man the Grinch?” asked her son. “

Yes, I am Tiny Timmy, or whatever your name is. I’m the Evil Grinch. Bah Humbug for now. Bah Humbug in spades. Bah Humbug forever. Bah Humbug,” he brayed.

The mother drug her son into the drug store and Mr. Grichwald felt better for having gotten all that off his chest. And when the next person approached he did likewise.

Again he felt good having cursed Christmas with another Bah Humbug. So he did it again and again until the store manager came out and had a brief, unpleasant, heated conversation with him informing him that his customers were complaining about him. Bottom line he ordered him to take his act somewhere else or the police would be called.

That was fine with Mr. Grichwald but for the fact that he had three more hours left on his shift. So he moved just two doors down to the liquor store so that his relief would see him when he got there.

He set up his donation kettle and began ringing his bell when a middle aged man approached. “Spare me the speech, fella,” he said. “I ain’t giving you no money.”

To which Mr. Grichwald replied, “I don’t blame you. I wouldn’t either. Christmas Bah Humbug.”

The man was taken back momentarily, then smiled and said,

“You know I’m kind of glad to hear that for a change. Those are my feelings exactly. Christmas, Bah Humbug. Ya know if it wasn’t for booze I’d never get through Christmas. I need it to put up with my wife’s sisters and those bratty kids of hers. Every year it’s the same old thing. She invites them over to our house, at our expense, they eat all our food, they never bring any of their own, and their kids. Well their kids just keep yelling, screaming and fighting with each other the whole time and hog the tv watching that stupid Charlie Brown Christmas special that they’ve seen a hundred times. I can’t even watch football on my own tv in my own house. Ya, Christmas Bah Humbug! Amen brother. I’m with you on that.”

And with that said the man stuffed a couple of bills into his kettle. Then it dawned on Mr. Grichwald that he had found the perfect place to collect Christmas donations. He then “Bah Humbugged” every individual going into the store and made a point to engage that person in a conversation as why he and they cared not for Christmas. And when these people had gotten it all off their chest, they invariably felt better and made a donation.

Mr. Grichwald had his best day ever and so did the store owner for he came out, slipped Mr. Grichwald a pint of brandy and said, “Keep up the good work.”

Mr. Grichwald thought he meant good work for charity but the store owner meant something else. The time passed quickly and Mr. Grichwald never felt the cold, thanks to the brandy. He reluctantly gave up his post when his relief arrived and made a point of telling him to tell them to do exactly as he had done.

And as he left, he smiled, and said with delight, “Bah Humbug to all. And to all a good night.”

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