THE FIRST OF THE THREE GHOST RIDERS
[WHEN Scrooge awoke, it was so dark, that, looking out of bed, he could scarcely see anything in the room. Off in the distance, he could hear coyotes howling. Looking at his watch, he tried to make out the time. It was just after midnight.
￼Light flashed up in the room upon the instant, and Scrooge saw what looked like a cowhand standing thee in the room. Scrooge waren’t sure whether it was a young feller or an old timer. It was some strange lookin’ cowhand or night rider. Or what Jake Marley had called a Ghost Rider. Strangest of all, there was light shining on his hat. Lookin’ closer, Scrooge noticed that he was not even a feller. It was a woman, a cowgirl maybe.]
ES: ￼”Are you that Spirit, that Jake tole me was headin’ this way?”
SPIRIT: ￼”Yep, shore am!”
ES￼: “Who and what are you?”
SPIRIT: ￼”I am the Ghost Rider of Christmas Past.”
ES￼: “Long past?”
SPIRIT: “Nope. Your past. I am goin’ to show you some things, but they’s only shadows of the things that have been. You‘ll see them, but they won‘t know you‘re there.”
ES: “What you doin’ here. Ain’t there you somewhere else you need to be?”
SPIRIT￼:”I came to help you out, Ebenezer. Git up, get yore boots on, and let’s go for a ride!”
[ES rises and follows the Spirit.]
[Eb and the Spirit passed through the wall, mounted on a couple of spirit horses and rode off far into the west, faster and farther than Eb thought it possible to ride. They came to a small ranch and tied up their horses and began walking around.]
SPIRIT: “Do you know this ranch?”
ES: ￼”Know it! I was a greenhorn when I first came here. This is where I earned my first spurs back when I left home and set out on my own.”
They walk around and see an old cowboy with a happy look on his face.
ES: “Why, it’s old Fezziwig! Sure nough, it’s Tom Fezziwig. Bless his heart, old Fezzi, alive again.”
FEZZIWIG: “Hey, Eb, come here. Eb, where are you, boy.”
[Young Ebenezer enters.]
FEZZIWIG:￼ “Eb, my boy, there’s no more work tonight. It’s Christmas eve, Ebenezer! The horses have been fed and the cows are over in the north pasture, so let’s enjoy ourselves for a spell. Let’s clear out some space here in the barn. I want to have lots of room for a dance.”
ES: “Don’t you think I ought to ride out and check on the herd one more time?”
Fezziwig: “Boy, you fret too much. Them cows are just fine. This is the time for a young feller to be thinking of gals and maybe finding’ one to take up with for life. Ranchin’ life can be awful lonely if you don’t have a good woman at your side.
Let’s get this barn ready for dancin’.”
[Room prepared for dancing. Mrs. Fezziwig and others enter.] [￼In came a fiddler and a guitar player. ]
In came Mrs. Fezziwig, a smiling’ just like Ole Tom, and along with her came the whole passal of Fezziwig gals. And after that, all the young guys in the territory who were sweet on the Fezziwig gals. Folks brought in all kinds of good food, including cakes and pies that the women folk had been cooking all day.
There were more dances, and more dances, and there was cake, and there was drink.
The highlight of the evening was when the fiddler struck up a tune and Old Tom Fezziwig and his Missus led the way on dancing’ a Virginia Reel they had learned back when they were young.
It was late in the night before the party broke up and the cowhands went back to the bunkhouse.
Before they left, Old Tom and is Missus’ shook the hands of everyone and wished ’em all a Merry Christmas.
SPIRIT: “Ain’t that something’. All those folks dancin’ around acting silly. And them so polite to old Tom and his Missus. He must have spent a whole pocketfull of silver and gold, paying the fiddler and buyin’ all that extra grub. You reckon he deserves all that carryin’ on by those folks?”
SCROOGE: “Well, Spirit, it seems to me that Ole Tom had the power to make folks happy. He made work on his spread a pleasure. All us cowhands in the bunkhouse liked him. Why we were all happy workin’ for that man. He was a good boss.”
SPIRIT: ￼”What’s eatin’ at you, Ebenezer?”
ES￼: “Nothin. Ain‘t nothing‘.”
SPIRIT: “Somp-in’s botherin you, I reckon?”
ES￼: “No, no. I just got to thinking I that I need to tell the ranch foreman a word or two. That’s all.”
SPIRIT￼”I ain’t got much time left. Let’s go see another time”
[Young Scrooge sitting beside a girl, in whose eyes there were tears. ]
GIRL: “It don’t matter, Eb. To you, it don’t matter at all. You found another that you love more than me. There’s no reason for me to act like nothing is wrong. I would have made you a good wife. But I hope you find comfort in what you have found.
ES: “What are you talkin’ about? There ain’t no other woman, Belle, besides you..”
GIRL￼”Nope it’s not another woman. It’s that ranch you and Jake bought. That’s what you love. It’s all about makin’ money off that spread. It’s all about land and more land. You don’t really want the things we used to talk about. A nice home, with kids running around, and a good life on a small spread. You want something different and I am not part of your dream”
YOUNG ES: “Belle, don’t you see what me and Jake doin’? Why, we can git the whole valley. The biggest ranch, the most cattle anyone ever had. I ain’t changed. I always told you that I wanted my own spread. I now know how to make a real livin’ and I will be able to buy you anything you want, lots of store bought stuff, given enough time.”
BELLE: “It wasn’t money or land or cattle that I wanted. And it wasn’t store bought stuff I dreamed of. God owns the cattle on a thousand hills.”
YOUNG ES: “I can own even more. I ain’t changed. We’re set to marry, ain’t we? That ain’t changed.”
GIRL: ￼”You never exactly said it had changed. Never.”
YOUNG ES: “What’s changed then?”
GIRL: “You. The way you talk, the way you act, the things you want. What you live for. Eb, if you were free to-day, to-morrow, yesterday, can even I believe that you would choose a girl like me? A girl with no money, from a family with no land, no dowry from my Papa.”
YOUNG ES: “No money, no land, now dowery…I reckon they’s still things to be said in your favor, Belle.”
GIRL: “Eb, I release you. With a full heart, for the love of him you once were. I will be leavin’ the valley soon. May you be happy in the live you have chosen.”
[Song: Red River Valley]
ES￼: “Spirit! Git me out of here.”
SPIRIT: “I told you these were shadows of the things that have been . That they are what they are. You cain‘t blame me for that.”
ES: “Git me out of here. I don’t’ want to see any more of this. Git me back to my ranch. Haunt me no longer!”
[Eb Scrooge realizes he is back in his room.]