Here I Come A-Caroling

Let me start by telling you I love Christmas carols.  I used to love to play Christmas Carols on my flute.  When I did, however, it was much to the chagrin of my family including Pudge, the best dog in the whole, entire universe.  For some odd reason I never was inspired to play anything other than Christmas carols (except for “Carnival of Venice” which I learned when I was nine years old and would play over and over for my dying grandmother, who layed motionless in a hospital bed parked in her dining room having supplanted the formal dinner table that sat eight).  For the better part of any given year post 1976, the flute remained nestled snuggly in its case  lined in navy blue velvet.  This is why my playing each December sounded, shall we say, rusty.  Even when I was younger, took lessons and practiced daily, I never was more than a mediocre musician, so I suppose I couldn’t argue with Pat’s and the boys’ annual protesting when, as advent season approached,  I unpacked my instrument and dusted off my ancient copy of Favorite Easy Christmas Flute Solos. Apparently my playing even made the dog nervous.  So much for all that rubbish about music soothing the savage breast.

Rather than struggling my way through the few songs my dilettante musicianship allowed and in order to restore familial harmony, I simply abandoned the whole idea of accompanying my gang on the flute whilst they cozied up around the fireplace watching the chestnuts pop, singing “Sleigh Ride” and sipping hot cocoa topped with whipped cream and marshmallows.  As lovely as it was, this Courier and Ives fantasy of mine was unrealistic  for a number of reasons, the least of which probably was not even the quality of my flute playing.  I  am quite certain that if Marvin Hamlisch himself were to pop up uninvited on my doorstep and tinkle his way across the ivories on the piano in my living room, there still would be no hope of a spontaneous Datoc family sing-a-long.  Those of you who know us know there’s no mistaking my clan for the Osmonds.  That’s for sure.   Alas, the futility of it all makes it far less frustrating for everyone if I don’t play Christmas carols on my flute.

Now pay attention because I am about to tell you a secret.  Get ready.  I sing along with the radio when I am alone in the car.  You’re probably thinking, “Shut up!  No, really?  I do that too!”  I’m not going to delude myself into thinking I’m all that special.  It’s not as if I’m in a state of oblivion.  Really, I am aware that I’m not the only person who sings in the car.  Let me say this, though.  I just don’t sing when I’m in the car.  No, no, no.  I SING when I’m in the car.  There is something acoustically perfect about driving around in a car that compels me to turn up the volume on the radio and sing at the top of my lungs especially at Christmas time. Remember I love Christmas carols. There’s this XM radio station, channel 4, called Holly that is all Christmas music all the time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week starting the week before Thanksgiving and lasting through New Years.  I LOVE TO SING ALONG WITH CHRISTMAS CAROLS ON XM RADIO CHANNEL 4.  I even sing the obscure tunes.  What, you are wondering, do I do if I don’t know the words?  Not a problem.  I just make them up as I go along!  Right or wrong, I belt out lyrics from the pit of my stomach in brassy There’s-No-Business-Like-Show-Business Ethel Merman style.  And by the way, for those of you youngsters who don’t know who Ethel Merman was, she had  more knock’em dead panache and bigger chops than Celine Dion, Jennifer Hudson and Beyonce COMBINED.  I am not kidding.  When she opened her mouth to sing it was with impeccable diction, perfect projection, and bring the house down Broadway charisma.

I mean no disrespect to Ms. Merman (may she rest in peace) by comparing myself to her.  I’m just saying, I’ve been known to pack quite a powerful vocal punch myself (that is, when I’m behind the wheel of course).  It’s why I find it necessary to restrict myself to singing when, and ONLY when, I am alone in the car.  See, about five years ago I was driving the kids home from school one afternoon.  While cantillating along to one of my all-time favorites, “Hark the Herald Angels Sing,” I figured I’d try pushing my pipes to their absolute limit.  I was approaching the peak of my crescendo, headed for the big finish, “glory-ee toooo the neeeew boooorrrrn KINGGGG,” when from the back seat Jared exploded.

“ENOUGH, MOM,” he shouted, “PLEASE STOP!”

I quickly looked to my right.  Christian, clad in sound muffling headphones was slumped in the passenger seat, fast asleep.  I immediately glanced in the rear view mirror and beheld a sight that made me gasp.  Truly, I tell you, my heart skipped a beat.  For my singing, infused with the emotional essence of Christmas, had driven Jared to the brink of tears.

“Honey, are you all right?”

“Mom.  Please don’t sing like that anymore.  It…”

“I know sweetie,” I interrupted.

It felt obscene: my suppressing a threatening convulsion of excitement, which came at the expense of my ten-year-old son’s struggling to control an avalanche of feelings.  Did I even dare to imagine that my…singing possibly could have incited such a quagmire of sensibilities?  This, I imagined, must be how Sally Field felt when accepting her Best Actress Oscar, “You love me!  You really love me.”  (Okay maybe she actually said like but love works better in my story.)

“You don’t need to explain.” I consoled, “Mommy understands.”

And that, my friends, is why I try my very best to sing Christmas carols when, and ONLY when, I am driving in the car by myself.  I mean it’s hard enough to drive and sing simultaneously, let alone juggle an emotionally charged carload of passengers too.  It simply isn’t safe.  Oh well (sigh).  There is something acoustically perfect about driving around in a car that compels me to turn up the volume on the radio and sing at the top of my lungs especially at Christmas time. Remember I love Christmas carols. I have to admit I am surely far from perfect and there are times when I fail to control my impulses.  Thankfully Jared always is quick to remind me.

“ENOUGH, MOM!  PLEASE STOP!”  We have a very special mother-son bond which is why he is so susceptible to the effects of  my singing.  He’s so emotional.

Till tomorrow…  Good night.  Sleep tight.

 

14 thoughts on “Here I Come A-Caroling

  1. I can totally relate to the Christmas music and belting them out in the car. I absolutely LOVE Christmas music and it just wouldn’t be Christmas if I didn’t engage in my favorite holiday past time.( singing every song over and over sometimes by memory without the radio) I have my own rules about it too, by no means is Christmas music to be played or sung in my home or in my car before Thanksgiving or after Christmas day. I know most people like it until New Years Day, I’m not one of them. I’ll listen to it in other places where I have no control such as in public. But as a rule I myself neither rush nor do I prolong the holidays as I see a lot of other people do. For instance when it’s the first week of November and Thanksgiving is weeks away and you see houses decorated for Christmas or you go into any department store before Thanksgiving and they have the Christmas music playing.That drives me nuts! What drives me even further is the people ( you know who you are ) who don’t take their Christmas stuff down till maybe SPRINGTIME!!!!!!! As you could probably tell it’s a huge pet peeve of mine. Just wanted to share that with you.
    Merry Christmas to you my dear cousin and your family too ❤

  2. I can totally relate to the Christmas music and belting them out in the car. I absolutely LOVE Christmas music and it just wouldn’t be Christmas if I didn’t engage in my favorite holiday past time.( singing every song over and over sometimes by memory without the radio) I have my own rules about it too, by no means is Christmas music to be played or sung in my home or in my car before Thanksgiving or after Christmas day. I know most people like it until New Years Day, I’m not one of them. I’ll listen to it in other places where I have no control such as in public. But as a rule I myself neither rush nor do I prolong the holidays as I see a lot of other people do. For instance when it’s the first week of November and Thanksgiving is weeks away and you see houses decorated for Christmas or you go into any department store before Thanksgiving and they have the Christmas music playing.That drives me nuts! What drives me even further is the people ( you know who you are ) who don’t take their Christmas stuff down till maybe SPRINGTIME!!!!!!! As you could probably tell it’s a huge pet peeve of mine. Just wanted to share that with you.
    Merry Christmas to you my dear cousin and your family too ❤

  3. While I am sure your top of your lungs Christmas carol car concerts are quite good, I have no doubt that they pale in comparison to your Super Pickle rendition of “She’s a Grand Ol’ Flag” from the top of our swingset…

  4. First, we have small flakes, gently falling today, just like on your blog! I hadn’t read your blog but saw the intro, and because of the snow, thought of the very calming Charlie Brown intro “Christmas Time Is Here”, or whatever it’s called, and was thinking of writing you about that, esp after Mark M’s assertion. Then I read your blog, which quickly changed my focus.

    Last week I was thinking and started spontaneously laughing, to the bafflement of my family, about the time during high school when we were parked, sitting in the back of your parents’ dark green plymouth horizon, in a parking lot, waiting for your mother to return to the car from some quick stop at a store. Your dad was also waiting with us, sitting in the front passenger seat. And you started singing: “Hello mother, hello father, this is me your, only daugher. Hello mother, hello father, I think I want a, glass of water….” and on and on past something like 20 made up rhyming verses until your father shouted, “Antoinette! Enough!!!”. I can hear your voice on demand as well as Mr. D’s. They are burned into my memory, and I laugh until I am crying.

    • I remember that too! That was completely off the cuff too, just to annoy my dad…similar to my falling off the wagon and singing with Jared in the car. It drives him crazy, but then I’ll just start repeating, “you know you want to smile, you know you want to smile, you know you want to smile…” until he finally breaks down laughing. It’s good to know some things are constant isn’t it?

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