Wednesday, December 8, 2010

245. December Ritual

It’s that most wonderful time of year: the time we pretend we know the all the words to Christmas carols. “Angels we have heard on high, gently singing over the flame, Glo-o-o-o-o-ria, in excel spread-sheet…, leopards, we have heard, oh, hi! something-something hmmm, hmmm….” (this from the girl who was convinced that the lyrics Prince was singing for "Little Red Corvette" were actually "leave the rent, collect!").

The really tricky part for me is that my sister Oakley was blessed with the innate knowledge of not only how to carry a tune, but also a genius photographic memory so that she can glance (glance!) at the 5-page lyrics to a song and have it memorized within seconds. To this, I know she'd say, “MOV, that’s not true. The reason I know all those songs is because I was in choir, glee club, and the Aqua-Hello singing group in college, remember?” (Yeah, whatever, Oakley, this is my blog, not yours.)

So, as I was saying, when Oakley is in town, she has this “fun” idea that we (being my little family of four plus she and her husband) will all go Christmas caroling together. On the surface, I am loving the idea. Meet new neighbors! Make friends! Sing songs! Drink hot cocoa!

The reality is different than the romantic image. We have printed out the words to about six different songs, the sophisticated and technically advanced “Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer” among them. The first two houses go well. Our friends pop out on their front porches, impressed and clapping. By the third house, I am realizing that 30 degree weather is not really that conducive to singing. I’m faking it that I’m happy and a good singer, all the while my sons are pulling on me and wanting to know if we’re done yet (did I mention this was only the third house?).

We get to the fourth house and my song sheets blow out of my hands. I follow them with my eyes (using the blonde logic: if I can still see them, then I can will them to drift right back to me). They stubbornly stick in some high tree branches. I am not getting my lyrics back any time soon.

The Husband, whose singing talent is on par with mine (read: non-existent) generously shares his song sheet.  Except it's the wrong song.  We muddle along, “Frosty the snowman, was a very jolly soul. With a corncob nose and a something pipe and two eyes made out of coal. Oh, Frosty the sandman…. uh, then one day he’s round. ….must’ve been some magic in the, uh, his head? he began to glance around!”

Now we are at the fifth (and final? Oh, God, let it be the final house, I can no longer feel my toes) house, my sister turns to me and says through clenched teeth, “MOV, if you don’t know all the words to a verse, try not to sing that part. You mess everyone else up.”

Ouch. There she goes, throwing that technical singing lingo at me, using words like "verse".  (And by the way, does this mean she just gave me a free pass to not sing at all?)

My son Short seems very confident in his singing ability, reaching for the high notes of Jingle Bells. “Jingle’s Bell, Jingle’s Bell, Jingle’s on the way! Oh what fun it is to slide in a fun horse's day!”

Oakley looks at Short and then back to me. She’s grinning, and then she mouths, “So cute!” I guess it is cute to not know the words.

When you’re four.

(“Maestro Or Virtuoso”)


  1. This sounds just like my mom. Although she can play the piano beautifully, lyrics are just not her thing. It's pretty comical most times.

  2. oh geesh, I am the worst singer ever. I pity those who forgot their earplugs. (oh how I wish I played piano!!)



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