I could hear it before it arrived. I had been excited all day for carolling country style. Layers and layers of clothes, socks, jackets. Gloves. Boots. That knit cap under which my scalp itched. Warm was an understatement.

Somebody had spent some energy bucking a dozen bales of hay onto that flatbed trailer, an amount of energy I wouldn’t understand until my early teens when I helped my father in the fields.

Another bale’s worth covered the trailer floor. The jingling bells were handheld. A tangle of boots and legs made room for a few more of the same. I started reciting silent thanks for my cousins’ foresight of layers upon layers of clothing. The moving air and clear night was a thief to body heat.

Our family was new to the community. The more I watched friends rib one another and holler greetings, the more shy I felt. Until the singing began.

How anyone could hear us mumble carols through scarves and the volumn of the tractor, I have no idea.
I went caroling once more in my youth. It wasn’t the same on a balmy California night, door to door.

©2014 Sandra R. Davidson


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