39 Years of Caroling Craziness

This past Saturday afternoon, my partner told me that he knew that my usual “old neighborhood” Christmas caroling event and party was being held that night, and he wanted me to go. He heard me tell a friend on the phone that I was not going to attend it this year because I did not want to leave my partner’s side when he was not feeling well.

My partner would have none of it. “Go! You need to do this!” After some more conversation and assurance that my partner would be okay, I agreed. I was especially relieved when a sister offered to come over and stay with my partner while I was gone. (I sure have a wonderfully supportive family!) Off I went…

39 years ago when I was a young wascally wabbit in junior high school, a group of my classmates who lived in my neighborhood decided to go Christmas caroling. We took it so seriously. We had printed lyrics to over 40 tunes. We got together for weeks in advance to rehearse. We sang our hearts out.

We had so much fun, and our parents enjoyed sharing the joy with us, that we kept doing it. All through high school. Then when we graduated, we challenged each other that we would return to sing next year… and we did. And we did and we did and we did and we did… every.single.year since 1972. Amazing.

These days, our singing is far worse than it was 39 years ago. Our tolerance of cold weather is far less. Our disabilities show… standing for an hour is long enough. I really don’t know how we did it in four-hour stretches on multiple nights back in the day … ahhh… the enthusiasm of youth.

One of my former classmates bought his parent’s house. Same neighborhood where we grew up, next door to the house in which I grew up. This is where we stage our current antics, and party afterwards. Sixteen of “the originals” attended Saturday night, including five of them who live in distant cities but flew back just for this event. Our group warmly welcomed spouses and several children — and even a few grandchildren — of our original group. All told, 42 of us became carolers Saturday night. What a blast!

A few years ago, we decided to do our caroling for the parents of our classmates where they live now, rather than go door-to-door in the old ‘hood — whose residents we no longer know since most homes have changed owners at least once if not more. (Though the woman who babysat for me and my siblings still lives there, so on my request, we sang a couple songs for her. That was sweet — and she still makes the best tollhouse cookies on the planet!)

We make arrangements to visit the parents of some of our classmates who live in one of two retirement communities in the area. We met at our friend’s house and then drove over — carpool style in a VW bus (memories of old days; a classmate restored one) — as well as more current minivans and yuppiemobiles.

We sang three Christmas carols in one place; four in the other. Once again, my friends asked me to sing Tu scendi dalle stelle which means You Come Down From The Stars. It is an old Italian folk song, sung at Christmas. My singing this is tradition — but I so miss my twin brother’s harmonizing voice!

Perhaps our visits in each location were brief, but the joy was huge. We laughed, smiled, and shared memories. It was so good to see some of my classmates in person who I only interact with occasionally on Facebook these days. Their children learned that their parents weren’t the stodgy old farts that they appear to be today!

This is such a fun holiday tradition that we never want to end. I am glad that I was able to make it. It surely rekindled my Christmas spirit.

Oh, what did I wear? The usual… nice pair of leather jeans, comfortable boots to stand in (Chip Firefighters), denim shirt, and a warm leather motorcycle jacket (my Taylor’s). No big deal, and consistent with my usual attire of many years in doing this.

Life is short: share joy of your roots. Merry Christmas!

1 thought on “39 Years of Caroling Craziness

  1. This is what I miss about being home during this time of year. I am glad you were able to continue the tradition. Sounds like so much fun!

    Ore e sempre,

    J

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