Saturday, December 13, 2008

Deck the halls . . .

Today, my cherished friends, I offer you an early holiday present: the right to mock me relentlessly. Because I've just come back from the winter equivalent of a Renaissance festival: Christmas caroling.

My neighbor Ann wanted to put this event together for our block. And as a person who's pushed plenty of boulders up hills hoping people would just get on board and show some enthusiasm, I found myself wanting to root for this project with several strikes against it: lousy weather, icy sidewalks, full schedules, and some pretty universal reticence about public performance (my own included).

It looked at first like it might just be me, John, Ann, and her awesome son Harold (named for Harold Washington), easily the most self-possessed 10-year-old I've ever met. We decided we needed a quota of at least two more people to brave the song-sheets. And just as we were about to give up, our neighbor Constanza showed up with five other people. So off, shyly, we went.

My new MO for things that make me feel like a dork is just to throw myself in with both feet. So that's what we did: a couple of atheists singing loudly and brazenly about all things savior-ish: the faithful, holiness, Bethlehem, lambs, and the coming of the lord. Harold and his neighbor Adriana split the task of knocking on doors: each of them running up staircases like this was a sacroscanct privilege, and very serious business. Two young girls tapped tambourines and jingle bells against their legs. Constanza shouted 'ho ho ho!' in front of each house as we passed. It started to pour and Harold coaxed me into the first verse of 'Singin in the Rain.' A woman we'd just sung to grabbed her coat and joined us for a block. And Ann would lean over periodically, take my arm, and say, "I can't believe it. This is working!"

And you know what? It was weirdly sort of a blast.

The two best quotes of the day came from the neighbors you see here. Fernando, there on the left in his shorts, yelled out from his side window just as we finished a song for a neighbor. "Hey John! I thought you should know I called the police on all this racket. They're on their way."

Then Mildred (who's made many a cameo on this blog), after enjoying our fairly lame bilingual rendition of Deck the Halls, offered: "I'm so blessed to have such wonderful neighbors . . . especially the ones I owe money to."

Happy holidays, everybody. I can't promise I'll have time to send cards this year, but rest assured I was out doing my part toward holiday cheer this afternoon.


Rose said...

Hooray for dorkiness! Anything that makes Mildred happy is worth doing, IMHO. This post beats any card you might send. (Of course, I'm saying that because it's looking increasingly like we're not going to get around to them, either...)

tracy said...

Good for you! I love the observation that this is the Christmas equivalent of a Ren Fest...but I was relieved to see no Dickensian capelets, thank you. That must be John with the gigantic messenger bag full of figgy pudding.

leslie said...

Merry Christmas! And jumping into such things wholeheartedly may just be my new year's resolution.