Barely Caroling

12 12 2009

A few of us, at Cory’s behest, decided to go caroling last Wednesday evening.  We bundled up, got some cider, and prepared to warm up our lungs while warming other people’s hearts.

Now, I’ve been caroling two or three times.  In general, I remembered it being fun and nice and a good way to feel like you’re making people enjoy Christmas more.  However, tonight, we decided to rock the carols unguarded.  That is, we decided to go to random houses around the neighborhood instead of just going to the (admittedly few) houses of people we knew.  This meant potential awkwardness, to be sure, but also potential spreading of joy and hearkening back to a time when doing so (for a free meal, incidentally.  Look up caroling’s history) was a welcome surprise and blessing.

This year, a little part of my seasonal naïveté died.

While walking around with friends on a crisp night is never something I will regret, we seemed to have an uncanny ability to discover the incongruously-decorated houses of Christmas loathing.  Perhaps they had expended their enthusiasm for the season while setting up the $200 inflatable Snoopy lawn ornament, but the majority of houses we sang at were simply teeming with Christ Apathy.  One lady only got out of her living room chair after we launched into the fifth verse of “I Saw Three Ships” on her doorstep.   Twice were we shushed by people claiming infirm relatives in their house.  Really.  These people actually said, “Oh, could you not?  I don’t think my ailing mother needs to hear people singing beautiful Christmas carols while her leg is in a cast.”  (She may have indeed been sickly and noise-sensitive, but my ire is easily raised by Scroogian behavior)  Two other houses sent a child to answer the door, and let the terribly confused/half frightened-to-death child absorb all of our singing before coming over to toss a “thanks!” our way as we were walking down the driveway.

That’s not to say that the night was a disappointment.  (It was, to some extent, but those words are not meant to say that, specifically)  We were warmly thanked and listened to by a few houses, and one man even pulled his truck over and asked us to carol unto his family.  That was cool.  Especially when we got to sing “Good Christian Men Rejoice” to Dr. Berding as he stood by his idling car, clearly needing to leave in the near future.  Oh, did I mention that he (and apparently like ten other houses) was actually, really, for seriously in the bathtub when we came by his house the first time?  I have no words.

What I learned:

-Caroling at retirement homes makes sense because most of those residents can’t escape from you or feign being busy.  You have them cornered.

-The more you suggest that it is not kosher to walk across people’s lawns right after they have generously let you belt out your five verses of “Good King Wenceslas” on their doorstep, the more likely it becomes that your buddy will decide to tromp right over that expensively-manicured lawn.   Personal issue.  I’m neurotic.

-No matter how much you all decide to sing “every verse of every carol” beforehand, you will always cave to abbreviation once it becomes clear how acutely aware of the 50 degree weather your audience is.

-When you have just left a house after waiting on their doorstep for a minute without an answer, do not go back because someone says that they “just saw someone in the window!”

-Appoint a leader of the song for each house, or a leader for the whole night.  Cory realized the necessity of this before we did, but we still got to enjoy a little sample of wandering harmonies on verses of “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear.”

-Cider is always as good as you think it will be, and probably better.  Stovetop-brewed, of course.  (Still can’t find those mulling spices at the store…)

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One response

12 12 2009
jet

Good entertainment…try CostPlus World Market for the spices. and don’t let the turkeys get you down.

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