Sundays and Mr. Scrooge

It was very warm for Massachusetts on that Sunday in December. But Mr. Scrooge, as the book said, ''carried his own low temperature always about with him.'' He almost smiled in a frosty way as he told his employee and nephew, Bob Cratchit, that he would have to work instead of going to church with his family. ''And if I have my way,'' said Mr. Scrooge, ''we won't stay open on Sundays only during the Christmas - bah, humbug - season.'' He did a little dance, waving a clipping about legislation to end the old state blue laws and legalize Sunday openings all year.

''Uncle!'' pleaded the nephew.

''Nephew!'' returned the uncle, sternly. ''Let me keep Sunday in my own way.''

''Keep it?'' repeated Scrooge's nephew. ''But you don't keep it.''

''Let me leave it alone, then,'' said Scrooge. ''Much good may it do you. Much good has Sunday ever done you!''

''There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say,'' returned the nephew. ''Sunday among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Sunday as a useful weekly reminder that there are things in life besides buying and selling. And it is a day of religious significance for so many people that this alone should be enough to preserve it as a day free of getting and spending. Just because most other states do not have laws against selling on Sunday - or, I might say, against the selling of Sunday - this does not mean that a state so symbolic of America's origins should fail to stand against the tide. And therefore, uncle, though Sunday has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe that it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!''

Will Scrooge prevail? Will Bob Cratchit return to the bosom of his family? We would know if it were up to Charles Dickens, to whom apologies for paraphrasing ''A Christmas Carol.'' If only the Massachusetts government proves to be as enlightened.

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