Thursday, December 12, 2013

Songs of the season

Retold memories of a once little girl from Neff Road.

The line of cars caravaned from place to place. Dressed in our winters warmest, we were a ban of merry carolers. Sometimes it was Mom and Dad's youth group from Painter Creek Church. Sometimes it was a group of singers from the choir. No matter who it was I tagged along. It wasn't like a Loxley to miss singing.

Even in the bitter cold, we trouped up each sidewalk then gathered close for warmth. Somehow I was always pushed to the front of the group. I never remember any other small children tagging along so I'm sure Mom and Dad were in charge. We began to sing with voices harmonizing, creating music that drifted through the chilly night. Shut-ins and elderly huddled against the cold as they stood in their doorways enjoying their own private concert. Often we were invited into the homes, but carolers had to keep moving in order to make all of their stops. Musical Christmas presents home delivered with love.

We went to the County Home in Greenville. It was a dark building that seemed rather ominous to a small child bundled so heavily that only two eyes and a little button nose peaked out from the wool hat and scarf. I vividly remember the door opening. A stairway ran up to the left. Along with a few other people, I stood at the bottom of the stairs inside out of the cold. Several thin, elderly people stood on the stairs while others gather in the hall. My sister remembers singing in a common room there. Mom wanted me to sing Away in the Manger. I don't think I did, because I was terribly shy. Maybe I hummed along. The experience left a mark on me. Not a Christmas goes by that I don't think of that dark hallway and the people looking at me. Those dear people had such little joy. These carolers were indeed a Christmas gift. A bit like the Little Drummer Boy. We had no gift to bring only our voices. I wish I had sung that song for them. For today I still carry those people in my heart.

I haven't heard of anyone caroling for years. That simpler time in life that I once knew was immersed in music. Families sung together. Men left that 'man circle' to come join around the piano. Carolers took their gift to the homes of those who were lonely and those who were sad. Music lifted us up and carried us through the hard times. Being shut in due to bad weather didn't stop us from having a great time. Not with a piano in the house.

For unto us a Child is born. Give a gift from your heart. Give a gift of music.

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