If Charles Dickens lived in Pennsylvania …

I actually had ideas for two columns last week about Gov. Tom Corbett. What can I say? He's inspiring. One of them ran Saturday. Here's the other:

Gov. Tom Corbett spooned out a bit of gruel. A single candle by his chair provided the only light in the gloomy room.

Suddenly, there was the sound of clanking on the stairs. Alarmed, Corbett squinted through his spectacles at the door.

It was flung open with a crash — and standing there was a portly, ghostly visage draped in chains.

"Who are you?" Corbett demanded.

"Ed Rendell," said the ghost. "What's that in your dish? It smells good."

"Ed Rendell isn't dead!" Corbett snapped. "I just saw him on television."

"Oh. Well, you're right, but for literary purposes, let's say I'm dead."

"You're not really here anyway. You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of an underdone potato."

The ghost began to shriek. "You're making me hungry!" he yelled. "Do you believe me or not?"

"I do! I must!" said the frightened Corbett. "What do you want with me?"

"Your redemption, Tom Corbett. You will be visited tonight by three spirits. Heed them well. And one more thing."

"What? Name it, frightful apparition!"

"I'll take that gruel with me."

Corbett handed him the dish and the ghost flew out into the night.

Corbett crawled into bed and fell into a restless sleep.

When he awoke, the room was bathed in light — and in the center was a strange apparition dressed all in white.

"Don't tell me you're Dick Thornburgh," said Corbett.

"I am the Ghost of Christmas Past. Touch my robe, Tom Corbett."