Art: Title panel,
The National Lum and Abner Society
Christmas 2011 Gift:
This story was originally published
in the December 1987 issue of
The Jot 'Em Down Journal.
In 2003, it was published (along with
several other stories by other
authors) in Ben Ohmart's book.
It's That Time Again, The New Stories
of Old-Time Radio
. This is the first
time this story has been republished
with its original illustrations.  We invite
you to take a look at Ben Ohmart's
many fine books by
CLICKING HERE.
Also, an audio version of this story is
available in the "Audio Jot 'Em Down
Journal" Volume Two
for our blind friends.
CLICK HERE for more.
Merry Christmas!
NAVIGATION:  HOME | LINKS | SALES | NEWS | CONTACT | COMICS

And now, let's see what's going on down in Pine Ridge.
Well, Christmas is but a few days away, and the townsfolk of
the little community are engaged in preparation for the
event. It is evening, and a crisp breeze is twisting around the
houses and trees. The snow has stopped falling, and the
smooth, white surface of the winter street of downtown Pine
Ridge is being broken by footprints, as a number of warmly
bundled citizens travel toward the schoolhouse. Some are
singing Christmas carols, others are discussing the events
of the day. The children are sliding in the snow and ice,
scrambling to fashion snowballs to hurl at each other, while
their parents scold than to stop, reminding them of Santa
Claus' uncanny ability to see exactly who is being good or
bad! A few parents merely pretend not to notice. After all, it is
the "season to be jolly," and they were "younguns"
themselves once.

Old Doc Miller is discussing the approaching event at the
schoolhouse as he walks alongside the Blevins family. "Yes
sir," he says, "it's a mighty fine thing these folks are doin' to
raise money for our poor folks. Those nine families might
nigh lost everything in that flood. Most of 'em didn't have
their places insured proper, and now the banks are tryin' to
foreclose."

Charlie Redfield overhears Doc, and asks, "Did old Squire
Skimp own any of them mortgages, Doc?"

"No, Charlie, he didn't."

"Well, it's a durn good thang he didn't, Doc. I hear tell ol'
Squire ain't got the patience them banks is got."

"Well, now, before you jedge Squire too harsh, Charlie,
remember he is purty involved in this play tonight. He's
givin' a lot of his time to help out."

"Yeah, Doc, you may be right. What is this little thang we're
gonna see? Is it a buncha Christmas songs?"

"No, Charlie, it’s a play called 'A Christmas Carol.' I hear tell
Lum Eddards wrote it from a book by Charles Dickens."

"Figgers. I never knowed Lum to ever write nothin' hisself.
Jist like him to copy it outa a book."



The schoolhouse is beautifully decorated in red and green,
and Sister Simpson is still on the job, tacking up shiny silver
garland, while Will Spencer makes a final inspection of his
impressive signs. Lum Edwards enters the small foyer of the
schoolhouse, reading the poster Will has just touched up,
which rests on a makeshift easel: "The Pine Ridge Players
Present 'A Christmas Carol,' by Charles Dickens, adopted...
er, I mean adapted by L. Eddards, play-writer. Tickets two
dollars per a-dult, one dollar per youngun."

"How's that, Lum?" asks Will.

"Grannies, Will," answers a beaming Lum, "that's the
outcappinest bunch o' signs you ever did."

A chuckling Abner says, "I doggies, Will, as long as a sign's
got 'Lum Eddards' writ on it summers, Lum'll be happy!"

Seated at a rugged old oak table is Cedric Weehunt, wearing
his Sunday suit, which threatens to pop its buttons (Cedric's
mama wants to wait until she is certain her boy has stopped
growing before he buys a new suit). On his lapel is a large
badge that reads, "Official Ticket Taker," and by his side is
Ed Beckley, whose job is to handle the money.

"Mr. Lum," asks Cedric, "how much money do we hafta
raise tonight ta help all than flood folks keep their places?"

"Well, Cedric," says Lum, "added to all the money raised by
box lunch sociables and sech, we gotta come up with
another 'leven hunnerd dollars to pay up the mortgages and
help the folks finish re-buildin'."

"Oh. I guess that's why this play is so awful ex-pensive fer
tickets, huh, Mr. Lum?"

"Yessir, Cedric. But don't fergit, these folks ain't gonna have
much of a Christmas. It's up to us more fortunate folks ta
give what we kin ta see they have a place ta live an' food ta
eat."

"Yes mum. I done donated a jar o' my favor-ite kinda peanut
butter to the food drive fer 'em. It was chunk style."

"You're a good boy, Cedric."



In the small cloakroom, behind the chalkboard in the rear of
the schoolhouse, the actors are busily dressing and
applying makeup. Mousey Gray is over in a corner,
rehearsing his lines as Bob Cratchit, with his wife Gussie
(portraying Mrs. Cratchit, of course) providing her usual
"destructive" criticism. Little Doody Bates runs frantically
back and forth, using the crutch he will hobble on as Tiny
Tim as a stick-horse. Brother Riggins, the circuit-rider, is
warming up his vibrant vibrato, as he voices the ghostly
Jacob Marley. Entering the cramped "backstage" area is
Dick Huddleston, leading citizen of Pine Ridge, cutting a fine
figure in black suit and tie.

"Well," he chuckles, "how's the star of the show getting
along?"

Replying is none other than Squire Skimp, garbed in the
costume of Ebenezer Scrooge! "Well, Dick," the Squire
exclaims, "it's good to see you! I don't mind admitting I’m
just a tad nervous. It's been a few seasons since I trod the
old boards, you know!"

"Oh, you'll do just fine, Squire. By jacks, you sure look the
part of Scrooge!"



"Abner, what time is it?" Lum asks nervously.

"Lum," Abner says in a bedraggled tone, "it's one minute
later than when you asked me before."

"Yeah... Grannies, Cedric, here comes some more folks!  
Thank goodness... Maybe we'll have a full house after all!
Howdy, Frank! Miz Barton."

"Lum," reminds Abner, "don't fergit, we're gonna have two
shows, so maybe more folks'll come to the late show."



The interior of the school house is buzzing with
conversation, interrupted by applause as Miss Emaline Platt
walks briskly out to the old upright piano. Gingerly, she sits
and begins playing a medley of bright Christmas tunes.
Lum's smiling face can be seen through the foyer door.
Head usher Grandpappy Spears, thinking someone left the
door ajar, attempts to slam it to keep out the "pigeon-toed"
cold air. Only the back rows hear Lum's yelp, as he tries to
extract his mustache from the closed door. Hearing the
commotion, Grandpap opens the door, asking Lum, "Hepya
find a seat, mister? Oh, dad-blame it, Lum, I thought you was
somebody."

Ernest MacMillan brings down the house lights, and flips on
the spotlight he has built for this occasion. The familiar
figure of Dick Huddleston strides to center stage amid
friendly applause. He speaks: "Ladies and gentlemen, allow
me to welcome you to the Pine Ridge Players' presentation
of 'A Christmas Carol,' written as a play and directed by our
good friend, Lum Edwards. The stars are all Pine Ridge
folks. The real stars are you fine folks, however. The tickets
you bought will buy a brighter Christmas for a number of our
good people who are less fortunate than we are. Let us not
forget that Christmas is a time of giving gifts, and we are
celebrating the receiving of the greatest gift God ever gave
His children: our Lord, Jesus Christ. Let us pray..." As Dick
prays, all heads bow. Some tears are shed softly, and men-
folk murmur "amen" frequently. How like this little
community to unite in such a spirit of love! A deep, resonant
"amen" is spoken by Dick, and Miss Emaline's piano ushers
in the mood of the play. Squire Skimp enters pompously,
playing his role to the hilt. In the opening scene, a trembling
Bob (Mousey Gray) Cratchit timidly asks Squire Scrooge for
Christmas Day off.



A nervous Lum paces the length of the foyer during the
performance, until an exasperated Abner says, "Fer
goodness sakes, Lum, why don't you go around behind the
schoolhouse and walk the floor in the cloakroom? You're
about ta drive us stark ravin' mad crazy!!"

"Abner, I'm jist so narvous! I can't hardly stand ta watch the
play! And so much de-pends on it. Iffen these folks don't like
it, they'll blab it ta the folks who wanna come to the late
show, and..."

"Doggies, Lum, I jist peeked in thar and it 'peers ta be goin'
awful good!"



The applause at the end of the first performance is
thundering, as a smiling Dick Huddleston assists Abner in
locating the trembling playwright, Lum Edwards, and
dragging him to the stage. "Let's hear it for our director!"
shouts Dick, "This was all his idea!" Lum is speechless as
the crowd jumps to its feet in ovation. The Pine Ridge
Players march back onstage to take a final bow, before the
patchwork curtain draws shut.  

Making his way stage right, Lum nearly bumps into Miss
Emaline, who drops her prim and proper schoolmarm pose
for a moment, embracing Lum and kissing him on the cheek,
cooing, "Lum, the play was wonderful!" Blushing, Lum is
still unable to speak!



There is only a half hour before the final performance.
"Lum," reports Ed Beckley with a sigh, we brought in four
hunnerd and fourteen dollars."

"Grannies! That's purty good!"

“But, Lum, we still gotta raise another seven hunnerd or so
tonight, or it ain’t gonna be enough."

"Ah, don’t worry, Ed! With the kinda re-ception I got...er, I
mean we got on the first show, they's bound ta be folks
comin' in from the county seat, and all over!  Why, I bet folks
is jist spreadin' the word like wildfire about how great this
show is!"



It is growing ever more cold as the folks arrive for the
second and final show. As Dick walks into the foyer to help
Lum and Abner greet the people, Lum pulls him aside and
asks, "Dick, what are we gonna do if we can't git enough
folks to come to this show ta raise the rest of the money?"

"Oh, Lum, don't worry about that now!"

"But, Dick, I'm afeered the banks ain't gonna give us no
more time!"

"We'll work it out somehow, Lum. Why, Squire was just
saying how he had connections with the banks and might
be able to..."

"Grannies, Dick, you know the kind of reputation ol' Squire
has. I'm afeered we're sunk."



"Now, Lum," says Mousey backstage, "l'm sure everything
will work out. This play is so wonderful, it can't help but raise
the money. Why, this play is so grand, that it's..."

"Yeah, I know, Mousey, it's jist like a mother to ya, right?"

"Well, no sir, I was gonna say it’s better than the movie I saw
of 'A Christmas Carol.'"

"Oh."



"Lum," asks Abner as the second show gets underway,
"Have you figgered out how much money we're bringin' in
this time?"

"Well, Abner, the house ain't near as full this time. I... I jist..."

At that moment, a commotion on the front porch of the
schoolhouse captures the old fellows' attention. They look
up at the front door just in time to see a frazzled Snake
Hogan, angrily brushing new-fallen snow from his coat as
he enters, followed by his long-suffering wife and two of
their youngest children. "Dad blame yer ornery hide,
Eddards! You would hafta go puttin' on some con-sarn play-
actin' show on a night like this!"

Lum approaches the snarling town tough guy warily, saying,
"N-Now, Snake....uh....W-W-We can't con-trol the weather!"

"Oh, shet yer big fat mouth, ya eediot! Gimme some tickets
to this pig-slop play, so this naggin' wife o' mine'll be
satisfied!!"

Cedric speaks up with, "Yes mum, Mr. Snake! That thar'll be
two dollars fer you and yer women fer each of ya, and a
dollar fer each o' both o' yer two youngins! Both! I think..."

Turning rudely to poor Cedric, Snake barks, "You big
overgrowed goof, I ain’t payin' cash fer nothin'!  You jest put
that waste-o'-money amount on my Jot 'Em Down Store
account!!!"

"Mum?"

"Now, hold on here, Snake!" Lum says bravely, "You can't
git away with this! You fork over the cash, or go on home!
This is fer charity, ta help them poor folks who lost their
homes!!"

"Why, Eddards, you bony, furry-lipped varmint, you can't
talk to me like that!!!"

"Oh, yes I can, Snake! Me an' Abner and ever'body else is
done had enough of yer bullyin'!! And if you ever talk to
Cedric like that agin, I'll bust you up good!!!!"

There is fire in Lum's eyes, fire from a good cause. Snake
realizes Lum means business, and for once in his life, backs
down. "Uh... See here, now, Eddards, thar ain't no need ta
act like a coupla scrappin' younguns over this! Okay, here’s
the money, Cedric. Dad blame it..."



Onstage, Squire Scrooge is wringing emotion from the
audience with his performance. It seems to them that the
Squire is truly living the role! He is just now enacting the
scene in which Scrooge encounters the third and final spirit,
that of Christmas Future. The spirit is silent and ominous,
pointing to a grave marker that bears the name "Ebenezer
Scrooge." The Squire is clutching dramatically at the spirit's
robes, pleading, "I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try
to keep it all the year. I will live in the Past, Present, and the
Future. The spirits of all three shall strive within me. I will not
shut out the lessons that they teach. Oh, tell me I may
sponge away the writing in this stone!"

The spirit answers, "Okay." It is Ulysses S. Quincy under
those robes, and fortunately, the crowd is so enraptured by
Squire Scrooge's moving lines, they are only barely aware
that the spirit has blown his part!

The final performance ends with yet another thundering
ovation, after which Dick Huddleston calls Lum to the stage
to present him with an engraved plaque, showing the
appreciation of the community for his efforts. This precious
moment seems to persist as a rosy haze in Lum's eyes until
Abner shakes his partner by the shoulders: "Lum! Whatsa
matter with you? The play's been over might nigh thirty
minutes! Come out here to the box office and help Cedric
count up the money! Ed Beckley had ta go back to the drug
store to git some stuff for Doc Miller ta doctor Grandmaw
Masters' flu!"

"Huh? Oh, yeah...sorry, Abner..."



"Wellll, gentlemen, gentlemen, gentlemen!" greets an
exuberant Squire Skimp, entering the "box office" foyer of
the schoolhouse. "A most enjoyable evening! Yes, indeed,
what a thrill it was to perform in front of an audience again!"

"Uh-huh," mumbles a dejected Lum.

"Why, what's the matter, Lum? You should be ecstatic! Just
look at that huge box of cash!"

"The actual truth is, Squire, we got a lotta money here, but it
ain't enough."

"Oh? Is that so?"

Abner says, "Squire, we only brought in a little over six
hunnerd dollars, all tolled. We're close ta five hunnerd
dollars short."

"I got fifty-nine cents left, Mr. Abner!" Cedric says.

"That's nice," Lum says sadly.

"Well, gentlemen," the Squire says with a twinkle, "I wouldn't
worry too much. Maybe there'll be a miracle!" Chuckling
merrily, the Squire bids them good night, and saunters out
the door.

"Grannies, fellers," says Lum, his voice quivering, "I'm
gonna take a walk out in the snow and... think. Abner, you
an' Cedric guard the money."

"Poor ol' Lum," Abner says sympathetically. ''Cedric, you
stay here with th' money while I go inta the schoolhouse ta
use Miss Emaline's phone. Gotta call Lizabeth an' tell her I'm
on my way so she can warm me up some cocoa."

"Yes mum."



It's about ten minutes later, as Lum reenters, his handlebar
mustache and eyebrows flecked with snow, his nose and
cheeks red from the cold. "Cedric," he says, "Let's git this
money back to th' store and git it locked up."

"Yes mum."

Abner returns: "Doggies, men. I'm sorry that phone call took
so long."

Suddenly, Lum’s eyes brighten as he looks into the money
box, "Oh, my goodness!!!"

"What is it, Lum?" Abner asks.

"Cedric... Abner... Did any of y'all notice anybody payin’ us
in fifty and hunnerd dollar bills?"

"No mum!"  

"Why, no!"

"Well, Cedric... Abner... Did Ed Beckley swap us any big bills
fer small change ta use in his drug store?"

"No mum, Mr. Lum."

Shaking the snow off his face, Lum looks closer into the
box, and says, "Men, somehow, we have got us some big
bills here! Look!!"

Abner, wiping his glasses, peers into the box. "Well, I do
know!"

"Wonderful world!" shouts Cedric. "Boy!!"

"Hold it, fellers," says Lum, "We gotta count ever bitta this
money agin!!"



"Men," Lum announces, "I can't ex-plain it, but we now have
got exactly 'leven hunnerd and fifteen dollars and fifty-nine
cents!!"

"Fer the land sakes!" exclaims Abner, "How in the world did
that happen?"

"l don't know, Abner, I jist don't know. Nobody coulda come
in here and put it in, with y'all here watchin' after it, right,
Cedric?"

"Mum?"

"I said, nobody didn't come in here after me and Abner left,
did they?"

"Oh, yes mum, Mr. Lum, I seen Mr. Squire come back!"

Both Lum and Abner leap to their feet, and Lum shouts,
"What? Squire Skimp? Did he give you any money? What
did he do? What did he say?!"

Thinking a few seconds, Cedric recalls, "Mr. Squire come in
here right after you fellers walked out, and he said he had ta
go back in the cloakroom and git some stuff he fergot."

"Doggies," says Abner, "I was back yonder by Miss
Emaline's desk, but I don't re-collect nobody walkin' inta the
cloakroom!"

"Think, Cedric," pleads Lum, "Did he say anything about
this exter five hunnerd dollars in here?"

"No, mum. He jist asked me ta pick up his hat fer him when
he drapped it on the floor yonder."

"Yeah?" asks Lum frantically. "What didja do?"

"Well, I reckon I jist bent over thar and got it fer him, I reckon.
I think."

"I doggies, Lum,"  Abner says, "are you a-thinkin' what I'm a-
thinkin'??"

"I shore am, Abner....I shore am!"

"Mum? What do y'all mean, Mr. Lum?"

"Don'cha see, Cedric? Abner means that while you bent
over thar ta git Squire Skimp's hat, he musta slipped that five
hunnerd dollars inta the money box!"

"Who did, Mr. Lum, you mean Mr. Abner did? Gosh, he must
be rich!!"

“Fer goodness sakes, Cedric," says Lum, "I mean that
Squire Skimp put that money in the box!"

"Oh!!" says Cedric. "Well, I'll be doggone."

The trio is silent a few moments while the impact of Squire
"Scrooge" Skimp's newfound generosity takes effect.  It is
Abner who breaks the silence: "Squire Skimp. Doggies.
Bless his heart. Ba-less his little heart!!"

“Yes sir," Lum says warmly, "God bless him."

Cedric adds, "Yes mum, God bless us, ever one!"

                                         -"Uncle Donnie" Pitchford, 1987


"A Pine Ridge Christmas Carol"
Story and art Copyright 1987, 2003 and 2011 by
the National Lum and Abner Society and Donnie Pitchford.
"Lum and Abner" is a registered trademark of Chester H.
Lauck, Jr. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Cover of the December 1987 Jot 'Em Down Journal
Art: Pine Ridge School in the snow.
Art: Dick Huddleston speaks.
Art: Curtain call, standing ovation.
Art: Snake Hogan vs. Lum Edwards.
Art: Squire Scrooge begs the Ghost for mercy!
Art: Lum is surprised!
Art: Abner is also amazed by the money.
Art: Squire Skimp and Cedric, Squire drops his hat.
Art: Lum, Cedric and Abner smile for the happy ending.
NAVIGATION:  HOME | LINKS | SALES | NEWS | CONTACT | COMICS
Lum and Abner®
is a registered trademark of Lum and Abner
Associates and is used by permission.
All rights reserved.

National Lum and Abner Society "Ossifers"
Donnie Pitchford, Sam Brown and Tim Hollis