Monday, December 14, 2009

Caroling Reingoat Style

Goat caroling was a family tradition when our children were young. A few years ago we had a friend thank us for including his family in our unique style of caroling. It was at least fifteen years ago when we stopped goat caroling at his home. He is not alone in his repeated expressions of gratitude for the five year assault on his ears. What made it so special? It definitely wasn't the quality of our voices. Was it the fact we had Santa hats on or could it be we we were trailed by a reingoat? You've never heard of a reingoat? Then I had better explain.

We would smear red lipstick on a dairy goat's nose, place cardboard antlers on her head, and string bells around her neck. She'd lumber down the street after us haphazardly hitched to the neighbors dog cart. Not exactly a sleigh but then she was no reindeer. We'd knock boldly at a friend's door and when it opened burst into song, typically a Christmas carol adapted for the occasion such as... Angie the dear old reingoat. Had a very shiny nose.... And then end with, We wish you a Merry Christmas, We wish you a merry Christmas ... and a Happy New Year. Upon which, we'd return into the night and stumble on frozen feet through snow banks to the next home.

Routes were short as our reingoat, at the waddling stage of pregnancy, panted with exertion as she hauled the cart down the snow blanketed streets. The choir plowed a path and hefted the cart up and over drifts, fearful lest we overtaxed the kid's 4-H project, the reingoat. Our fabricated representation of reindeer horns refused to remain fixed and flopped to deformed angles. Either we frequently adjusted them or our reingoat looked like she'd had a little too much Christmas cheer.

Of great delight were the surprised expressions of the casual observers who chanced to look out the window to the wonder of five Santa hat clad carolers and a reingoat pulling a dog cart. Predictably, they hastily retreated then returned with the entire household to press against the window pane for a gander.

After the second year, we seldom altered our paths. Disgruntled words had followed the failure to repeat visits. There after, reminders to stop by were issued with, "We're expecting you." One of our most dedicated fans, the dog cart owners, moved but left the cart in our care for two years. Its loss ended our caroling as a family. But who knows, the Rexroat Choir may rise again someday if we figure out a new form of sleigh. Our granddaughters should have the opportunity to carol reingoat style for we still have the reingoats. Yet, time has passed and The ole gray mare she ain't what she use to be. I think their parents had better come along to heft the cart. Meanwhile, we'll keep our eye out for a one goat open sleigh.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

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