I went caroling a week and a half ago. The reason I'm finally writing about it now is that it has taken me this long to recover.
This was not a pleasant stroll through the neighborhood with a group of guys and gals, getting invited in for hot chocolate and cookies. No. This was a group of 11 men on a mission to spread good cheer, like it or not.
You've got to understand: When left to their own devices, men carol the way they shop. You know what I mean, don't you? When women shop, it's an opportunity to leisurely examine all the wonderful options available...preferably with a friend or two so that it can also be a social event. But men? When men shop, they've got a list (that they've already checked twice) and they know exactly in which store they are going to purchase the items on said list. In. Out. Done. No browsing, no comparing fine details, and as little time away from the television remote as possible.
Operation Manly Caroling was the same way. We met at the church building, piled into three vehicles, and were off to remind all in our path of the sweet baby Jesus asleep in the hay on a silent night in a little town. We drove to a series of houses, though only the event organizers in the first vehicle knew to whom the houses belonged...and I'm not really sure I didn't just lie by saying that they knew.
There was someone home at only half of the houses. None of them knew we were coming (so, of course, they didn't bake a cake...or cookies...or make hot chocolate). And we actually got chased away from one house with a threat that the police would be called...by the neighbors...when they heard the shotgun blasts that were about to happen if we didn't "get [our] fa-la-las off [his] property."
We should have known it was going to be an interesting night at our very first stop: a nursing home. We strolled in to the sun room with smiles on our faces and a "hope you don't mind if we sing a few Christmas carols" on our lips. And to tell you the truth, it looked like we were immediately having an evangelistic effect, because a woman started praying right away. At least I think she was praying. I know she closed her eyes (rather tightly), turned her head away from us, and intoned, "Oh, God..."
The real clue that we maybe weren't getting off on the right foot was when someone turned up the TV so they could hear "Who Wants to be a Millionaire." An employee turned it back down and started moving the gal closer to the set. Apparently, the quiz show fan wasn't used to getting moved around and yelled, "What are you doing?"
"These men have come to sing some Christmas carols, and so--"
"I don't care what they came to do. Leave me alone and give me back the clicker!"
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I found a new hero that night. She had bluish hair...and a decent right hook.