Wednesday, December 15, 2004


That's the temperature here, right now. That was also the temperature last night when my daughter and I went out caroling. (For those of you who live in subzero climates, please remember that the average temperature I've lived in for the last twenty years of my life is 80F, year-round.)

Caroling is not something I've done much of in the past, but it was always indoors, like at church. Not so here. Apparently what the displaced Northerners here do is group up, walk from house to house and sing Christmas songs for folks, half of which don't open their doors, in this freezing weather.

But my daughter desperately wanted to go, and while I'd rather be tortured than have to sing in front of people, I love my daughter. So we went, we walked, we avoided people's active sprinkler systems and loose dogs, we sang such PC songs as "Jingle Bells" and "Deck the Halls" to closed doors, and we about froze our toes off.

My daughter apologized to me as we hiked back two miles to the car. "Sorry, Mom, I thought this would be fun."

I didn't want to lie to my child, and I was too cold to talk much. On impulse, I started to sing my favorite carol, We Three Kings and she joined in. Just the two of us sang together all the way back to the car. We sang our favorite carols, the ones that aren't politically correct, like Little Town of Bethlehem and Away in a Manger. We laughed at each other when we stumbled over some words or hit the wrong note.

We earned a few odd looks from the Jingle-and-Deck people, but no one objected. I think they were too chilly to separate church and state.

During that long, cold walk back, I discovered two things: I cannot hit that high note on the soaring "peace" in Silent Night anymore, and caroling with my daughter in 32F weather is fun.

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