“I wear the chain I forged in life….I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.” — Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol.
With deep concern I reflect on the Charles Dickens Classic and think about the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future. The ghost of Christmas Past came home to me Dec. 10.
That is the day I read the publicity piece for the Georgia Straight Jazz Society in the local paper. Don’t misunderstand me, the effort of the society and all of its supporters make a wonderful contribution to the joy of music in our community.
What worries me is the voice of Christmas Past.
The original home of the jazz society was for many years at the Courtenay Elks. It was a sad parting that the “beautiful friendship” between the Elks and the jazz society came to an end. Enforcement of liquor laws on behalf of those who have arguably forgotten the values that are the foundation of our own liberal democracy was what regretfully came between friends.
So it was with sadness that I read that the jazz society has not “regretted” for a moment its move to the Avalanche. I understand that the statement was made as part of a press release promoting the new venue, but there is danger in forgetting the past and future for the sake of the present.
The ghost of Christmas Present says we do forget too quickly the gifts of days gone by.
For 91 years, the Courtenay Elks have been helping the less-fortunate in our community as well as contributing to other vital community service organizations, and have given the residents of the Comox Valley the gift of Kye Bay Park for all to enjoy in the future.
Is the old friendship without consequence?
I reflect on an answer as I look at a culture steeped in the “now” and wonder what will be our “gift” to the future. Certainly, we must be careful about how we remember our friends and the aims of those whom we are yet to choose.
As Dickens has mentioned, the ghost of an old friend can carry a vital message.
The ghost of Christmas Future tells me that we set a dangerous precedent whenever we forget a past of selfless service that is the life-blood of democracy itself. All else is advertising in the name of public relations at a great cost to the future.