Monday, December 17, 2012

Caroling, Caroling Through the Snow

A blog where I lurk has a post up about caroling. The author is part of a church youth group who goes to the church shut-ins and the nursing homes and the hospitals. Very cool thing and I am not disparaging it in any way.

It did get me thinking about caroling, though, and wondering if anyone does it any longer. And not the caroling this writer was talking about. I think church youth groups will always do that kind of caroling. I mean door-to-door, stranger's house, group of friends, caroling. Or am I on the edges of the last generation to ever know that?

When we lived in New York, the call of "CAROLERS!" would echo through the house as one of us had heard the music coming from the other side of the door. All four of us, my parents included, would race to the door so the performers on the other side would know we were home and keep singing.

In Texas, it happened as well, but I also remember going caroling by the time we were in Austin. It didn't matter if you knew the family living in the house or not. You stopped, rang the bell, and started singing. If no one answered after the first song, you moved on. If they did, you rolled right into the next two or three. And you always finished with We Wish You A Merry Christmas ~ although I never did get figgy pudding, in spite of the threat to become squatters should they not feed us.

And then one year in Virginia, maybe the first year,... my mother (I think) pointed out that we hadn't gotten any carolers that season. We talked about the possibility that they "don't do that here." But if it was the specific town in Virginia, or a change in the total culture of the country, I never again had strangers carol at my door. Church groups and choirs who knew where we lived would come, because everyone knew we would appreciate the music. But strangers? The random, unexpected call of "CAROLERS!" followed by the mad dash to the door and the delightful anticipation of who they might be? Never again.

Caroling became the church youth group ~ or the church choir ~ going to shut-ins and nursing homes and hospitals. If another church member lived in the same neighborhood, we might stop by ~ but probably not.

The last time I went caroling to a stranger's house was in Philadelphia. I was living with the Lovely Cats and LRNs, my sister had come to visit, and we got to talking about this very thing. Even though the Lovely Cats was sick with a cold, we bundled her up, and we went caroling (although I think LRNs was wise enough to stay home and warm). We didn't do much caroling. Not many people opened their doors and we realized we didn't know many carols and it was far better in theory than in practice to simply run out into the snow to sing to people. But we had fun. And we made a few families smile. It was a good last time, although I am sorry it was the last time.

Which brings me back to my original musing. Does anybody still just go door to door caroling, any longer?

Those are Pobble Thoughts. That and a buck fifty will get you coffee.


Cut Porker said...

I carolled door to door when I was a kid. I took chorus in school all through to graduation and we used to go around carolling. We were pretty good too. But I haven't heard of a caroller in a long time.

BostonPobble said...

Cut Porker ~ Whenever we meet up, wherever that is, we'll go caroling. If it's June, hey, imagine their surprise when they open their door!