Christmas carols on the radio are supposed to put us in a festive, joyful mood, however, driving home tonight they made me re-live one one of those painful and embarrassing childhood moments I thought I would forget by the time I reached adulthood. Guess what.
When I was in second grade our class practiced a carol to sing at a local nursing home - or as we kids so very unPC-like called it, the old folks home. I had never been in one and the image I had in my mind was something like the day room in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
The song our class prepared was the 12 Days of Christmas. I was to sing the pivotal 5th day or "Five Gold Rings". If you are familiar with the tune, this is the phrase that hits the highest notes in the whole song. I can't recall the name of the sadistic teacher who gave this line to me, but I was one the few seven year old ALTO girls in the class.
On a cold night in winter we dressed up in our best clothes and bussed over to the senior home. I hadn't been around any non-family seniors at this point in my life and I was scared to death of the white hair, wheel chairs and wrinkles that met us there. (As you can tell, the school really prepared us well). It was hard to bring Christmas cheer when you felt like peeing your panties.
The song started and as we got to my climactic solo of "Five Gold Rings" I was petrified and my voice cracked so loudly the seniors turned down their hearing aids. Worse than that, it cracked in the same place for the seven additional choruses of the song. The laughing from the audience and my class members began after "Six Geese Laying" and continued to grow through "Twelve Drummers Drumming". I was very close to being "One Second Grader Puking" when the concert mercifully ended.
I flashed back on this tonight when my radio played the classically funny Muppet version of the "12 Days of Christmas" with John Denver. I was appalled to realize that Frank Oz, a MAN singing as Miss Piggy could hit the notes I failed so miserably at. If only I had the chutzpah to add "Ba-dum-bum-bum" the way Miss Piggy did. You go girl!