By MATT WIXON
Before we start caroling, I want to thank everyone for coming out on this chilly night. It’s great to know that, even in the holiday rush, we can take time to share the spirit of the season with neighbors who are civilized enough to appreciate our music.
If you don’t know me, I’m Mrs. Mapleberry, and I’ll be leading the group again this year. That’s why I’m wearing this green sweater, and that's why I asked all of you to wear red sweaters. Some of you didn’t, but that’s fine because you can still spread holiday cheer while standing behind someone who is wearing the correct color.
I know everybody is cold, but I have a few announcements before we get started.
First of all, although I’m a music teacher at the local elementary school, please don’t be intimidated by my musical ability. It’s a combination of natural talent -- Praise God! -- and years of diligent training. My angelic voice might remind you of Celine Dion, or perhaps Whitney Houston before her terrible tragedy of meeting Bobby Brown. But for you musical beginners, be assured that I will not criticize your efforts. Unless, of course, you hit each other with song flutes like the heathens in third grade.
Please give a special welcome to Barb, who has made it out here despite her recent illness. Barb thanks everyone for their prayers and says her recent bout with salmonella showed her the true value of friends and the importance of properly cooking a turkey. Remember to use those food thermometers, everyone!
Also, I would like to pass along that David, one of our most devoted singers of the past few years, won’t be with the group this year. But with your prayers, I believe his unfortunate run-in with the law will be cleared up soon. And in light of his arrest, I remind you that although the lyrics of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” say that we won’t go until we get some figgy pudding, we will go if a restraining order is slapped on us. That’s also why we won’t be sharing holiday harmonies this season with 4704 Oakwood Blvd.
But that’s OK, because there are many more homes that want to hear us croon our happy tunes. They might turn off every light in the house as we approach, but remember, the holiday spirit is in everyone! When a door is closed in our faces, we must open our hearts! When a rude comment could lower our spirits, we must raise our voices!
Before we go, I also need to address some confusion we had with the lyrics last year.
In “Frosty the Snowman,” the correct lyrics are “a corn cob pipe and a button nose, not “a corn cob pipe and a bloody nose.” Why anyone would think that the word “bloody” is part of such a delightful song, well … that’s almost as crazy as the night last year when Fred pretended to ride an illuminated reindeer.
That’s also why we won’t be singing at 4215 Juniper Road. Or at 4221 Pine Lane, where we eventually found Fred passed out in a manger. This year, there’s just coffee in that thermos you’re holding, right Fred?
Let’s also be clear on the lyrics in “Winter Wonderland.” It’s “later on, we’ll conspire as we dream by the fire,” not “later on we’ll perspire as we dream by the fire.” It’s a common mistake, and correcting it should be no sweat. Ha!
No sweat … don’t you get it? I was talking about perspiring and then said, “no sweat.” Well, maybe everyone is too chilly too laugh.
So let’s get moving, and remember to check your song sheets for the selected verses that I will be doing solo. During those verses, please don’t attempt to hum because it could be distracting. You may, however, hold hands and sway.
Finally, remember that we are all God’s children, and everyone’s voice is sweet music to the ears of God. In the ears of humans, however, some voices are the equivalent of fingernails scraping on a chalkboard. If your voice falls into that category -- and I can help determine that for you -- please celebrate the season by simply moving your lips to the words.
That way we can all experience the joy of caroling.
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