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Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in the Wild: Author Pete Fromm Read Holiday Classic in the Winter Mountains

The holidays are a time of happiness and merriment, but also a time of reflection, and sometimes sadness. Holiday books and films show others going through a mixture of emotions as they enter the holiday season.

A Christmas Carol is famous as a story of repentence, of enjoying the holidays, and of taking responsibility for society’s ills. The story adapts to modern life, in the unlikely land of the Wild West.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Novel

In his preface, Dickens wrote this about his novella, A Christmas Carol:

“I have endeavoured in this Ghostly little book, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their houses pleasantly, and no one wish to lay it.”

Dickens’ satire of the disasterous results of the Industrial Revolution and capitalism becomes clear through the characters, especially the greed and ruthlessness of Scrooge, the hard work and dedication of the Cratchit family, and the sensitivity of the Cratchit children, especially Tiny Tim, as they face a dim future of factory work and exploitation.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, Films

There are many fine versions of Dicken’s novel. One of the classic films is A Christmas Carol with Alastair Sim playing Ebenezer Scrooge. The black and white film captures both the spookiness of the three spirits of Christmas Past, Present, and Future, but also delivers the poignacy of Tiny Tim and the Cratchits humble and poor family, who nevertheless possess the spirit of Christmas.

Indian Creek Chronicles by Pete Fromm

In 1978, Pete Fromm was a junior at the University of Montana, in Missoula. When budget cuts ended his swim team, he took a job where he could live his dream of being a mountain man. He agreed to spend the winter alone in the rugged mountains of the Idaho-Montana border.

At the Selway River and Indian Creek area, Fromm arrived to stay for seven months, October to June. His canvas sided-tent was located in a ravine with two streams. There at the ranger camp, Fromm would watch over two and a half million salmon eggs, in a salmon channel, to babysit them through the ice and snow, and hopefully help to build up the decling salmon population.

Yet his romantic adventure quickly turned to a cold, hard life, with lots of loneliness, especially at holiday time. When he found himself becoming depressed, he kept himself busy.

With the approach of the holiday, Fromm found new meaning in old books, specifically Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, read by classically-trained actor, Lionel Barrymore.

“… I listened with rapt attention to a story I thought was too tired to ever be interesting again. It really was almost Christmas”

“When I woke the temperature was zero, my breath forming great steaming clouds while I was still in bed. I whispered, “Merry Christmas.” (p. 68).