Each year my wife and I start the Christmas season by going to the Baptist church in Amherst and enjoying the carol sing.
If any of you remember my column on religion you might question why I participate in this community sing-along. The answer is simple, nostalgia. During the war years, 1942 to 1946, I attended school in one-room school houses. I started Grade Primary in the Salem schoolhouse and transferred to the West Leicester schoolhouse for Grades one to four.
During this time my dad was overseas with the North Nova Scotia Highlanders. He left behind five children and a wife. I was the third oldest.
The army sent his pay home to his wife and they paid so much for each child. My mom being thrifty saved enough to make a down payment on a farm in West Leicester.
These one-room school houses had one thing in common, they were community orientated, so each year in December they had a Christmas concert.
I have fond memories of walking to the schoolhouse with my mom, my siblings, and neighbours, who were traveling in the same direction, since the school was central. There would be families coming from the other direction as well.
These concerts were held in the evening, so we traveled in the dark. You could hear the snow squeak as you walked, and since there was no light pollution, the stars and moon lighted your way.
We children were in high spirits and the emotions ran high. The schools hosted other events such as socials, and sometimes dances, but to us children the Christmas concert was the highlight of the year. "
The Baptist sing-along is a whole lot fancier than what we experienced as children. We had no school band to play wonderful music to accompany our singing, but we did sing as a community as they do at this church.
So kudos to the church, their minister, and their volunteers, that include the Amherst senior high school orchestra. These young people are indeed community-minded. It takes hours of practice to learn these songs and then show up at the church to perform them. I cannot say enough about them and their dedication.
This year as well the Christmas house tour is returning. Pat and I have attended these every year only missing one when we were not in town. So for all you people who think Christmas is about shopping, and gift giving, that is only a small part of the Christmas season. So to all our readers let me wish you a Merry Christmas, one of our more interesting pagan celebrations
Walter Jones’ column appears weekly in the Amherst News.