Juneau Afternoon 12/25/13
Selected Shorts Christmas Special
On this program, three stories are presented that each offer a different side of the Christmas experience, as well as a hilarious poem by humorist Calvin Trillin.
The first story narrated is Ron Carlson’s charming and funny, “The H Street Sledding Record,” in which a young family enacts a unique Christmas ritual. What’s not to love in a story that begins with a dad throwing horse dung on his roof on Christmas Eve, to simulate the landing of reindeer?
Frank O’Connor’s “Christmas Morning” gives a richly detailed picture of a family in turn-of-the-century Ireland, and a touching portrait of a mother’s attempt to make things perfect for her young sons one day of the year. Reader Malachy McCourt knows this landscape well—it’s the same emotional world that informs his memoirs A Monk Swimming and Singing My Him Song, and his late brother Frank’s bestselling Angela’s Ashes.
George Shephard’s “Occurrence on the Six-Seventeen.,’ first published in The New Yorker in the 1930s, imagines a small Christmas miracle—sober, self-absorbed commuters, “with necks that know exactly how long they must be pressed against the seat back”, briefly unite in decorating a forlorn tree that has been smuggled on board their train. The reader is Broadway star Tony Roberts.
The “Selected Shorts” Christmas program finishes up with a take-no-prisoners ditty from humorist Calvin Trillin, who imagines a perfect Christmas—anywhere but here. He read his own “Christmas in Qatar.”