Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Curious Incident of the Carolers in the Nighttime

Yesterday afternoon, I was minding my own business in the car on the way to the Tippecanoe Mall when I received a text message. I guessed at some things this could have been - my RA sending me another picture of Kardashian book she'd bought herself, one of the many friends I haven't talked to in a while informing me I haven't talked to them in a while, or (most likely, since these are the only texts I ever really get) some Cass County Alert text - and opened it to discover that it was pretty much the last thing I could ever have guessed. The sender wasn't a surprise, but the message was: "Caroling tonight. Let me know if you're in."

Have you met me? Of course I'm in.

I agreed to bring carol books and was informed that, as the only person in the group with 19 solid years of caroling experience, I would be providing some serious help in orchestrating the evening. After wrapping up our very-last-second Christmas shopping trip and making a guest appearance as an alto at church choir practice, I headed over to caroling HQ. The (extremely) ragtag crew, assembled in the kitchen, consisted of a pair of bass-singing brothers; one soprano who sings melody like sopranos are supposed to on carols; one soprano (me) whose sole knowledge of Christmas carols is a set of descants that clash horrendously with Swing Choir harmonies; one alto who, as a non-Swing Choir alum, was sort of out of luck when we attempted Swing Choir arrangements; one poor guy who was never in choir at all and basically had to grab whatever notes he could find all night; and four tenors, who came armed with four different levels of recollection of Christmas carol tenor parts. We each took a carol book and one of the battery-operated candles the organizer's mom gave us, and, in our mini-army of Ford Escapes, we set off.

Our first stop being unsuccessful, we decided to give the Boulevard a shot. For my non-Berry readers, the Boulevard is one of Logansport's main streets and serves as the center of the neighborhood in town that is the most likely to agree with us that "the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear." Having arrived thus, we started on a remarkably convoluted walking path including, for my Logansport readers, both Roselawns, large swaths of North Pennsylvania, and the full intra-Roselawn distance of High Street. We stopped at our old gym teacher's house, my grandmother's house, the head football coach's house, and a handful of other unsuccessful spots (singing through the streets the entire time) before heading over - in our cars this time - to our last residential stop, our alto's grandma's house. After grandmother the second, we decided that, since it was well past 10 at this point, the only logical next stop was a flash mob at Walmart.

We loitered in Grandma's driveway for a while to plan, settled on "Let It Snow" as initiated by the non-me soprano, and headed to Walmart. We walked in, more or less separately, and awkwardly scattered throughout the apparel section. I was rifling through a rack of fantastic Christmas sweaters and noticing that our audience looked like it'd consist of some cashiers and maybe eight shoppers when the song began. We pulled it off way better than I thought we were going to do, scared a few high school dropout types out of the store with our Christmas cheer, and exited, accompanying ourselves with a far less stellar rendition of "Holly Jolly Christmas." Back at the Escape army parked outside, we congratulated ourselves on a job well done and decided we'd try it again over at McDonald's.

After arriving at McDonald's and seeing the clientele inside, we decided McDonald's was a bad idea.

The next stop we thought we'd try was the always-reliable Pizza Hut. The four cop cars parked outside were somewhat nerve-wracking, but we walked in anyway, mid-"First Noel." We sang all three verses and walked back out, to the applause of everyone present (except the cops). We walked next door to Applebee's and sang for the dozen or so people left at the bar, then wisely chose to jaywalk across Market Street to sing "Joy to the World" at KFC. Back in the cars, we headed over to China Lane and found, much to our chagrin, that it was closed. Since it was nearing eleven and we figured we wouldn't find many more caroler-friendly businesses in town still open, we decided to call it a night. We caravan-ed our way back to our organizer's house, where we traded all the most interesting stories of our Berry and post-Berry lives for three hours before going our separate ways. In all, it was the most ridiculous and wonderful night I've had in a long time - and if there's anything we learned from it, it's that these guys' lives could make a fantastic book. Boys, you may consider this my application to ghostwrite for you. I personally think this chapter would fit in just perfectly between, say, the Barlow Beater and Scotty-Kyle Fight One? So, you know, think it over. :) And if you ever want to go caroling again, let it be known that I am SO in.

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