Home News Local news A Source Christmas Special: Wassailing Through Frenchtown

A Source Christmas Special: Wassailing Through Frenchtown


Dec. 24, 2006 — Traditional Christmas music rang out from the Joseph Aubain ballpark Saturday night, the usual recorded songs.
Then, suddenly, some voices grew closer. They must be real, I thought, and they were — an assorted group of Christmas carolers, bearing joy, song and platters of homemade Christmas cookies.
They were an oddly put together group: young, not so young, some in Christmas hats or antlers, one with a wool plaid scarf and a woolen hat, all singing their hearts out.
What they lacked in skill, they made up for in spirit. "Come," they said, "join us." "Why not," I thought. I was getting nowhere with a yule story I was trying to finish.
Soon we were wandering down the narrow Frenchtown streets offering our motley joy to all who cared to listen. Cars had to stop for us, but they didn't mind, sometimes yodeling a few bars of whatever we were singing before driving on.
People began coming to their windows, then to their front doors. We gave each household a special song, along with the cookies. "This is great," some people said, "Nobody does this anymore."
Sometimes children hung by their parents sides, wanting to venture out, and, finally, braving the strangers to get to the cookies."I know how to sing 'Jingle Bells,'" one five-year-old said. "Fine," we said, "please do."
Lights in homes turned on as they heard us coming. By St. Anne's Chapel, a group of women sat on their porch, hesitant to sing along with us but happy for the good will. People in the little houses on the way down to the ballpark opened their doors, one by one, happily taking some cookies and smiling as we sang.
Then on to the ballpark, the heart of Frenchtown, where much merriment was already in progress.
After wetting our whistles on a bit of Christmas cheer, it was to the waterfront restaurant Hook, Line and Sinker and Epernay en route, and finally back to Betsy's Bar from whence all but one had come, tired and happy, filled with yule spirit(s).
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