On Friday evening I drove up to Baltimore with Margie where we met Richard and a large group of others to join in the Polish Carol Singing Parade. This is an annual event, which has been held for at least 25 years, where a truck pulls a small trailer in which Polish musicians sit and play their instruments, sing carols, English and Polish, with hundreds of people following, also singing as loudly as possible. Originally in Poland horse drawn carts would rumble around Polish villages with carolers stopping at all the churches. We started at the Polish Home Club, where pamphlets with song words were handed out, and then off we set. Wrapped up warmly and in the midst of a throng of people, we didn't feel the cold.
video of the cart as the men sang and played a Polish carol. It was quite difficult keeping up, one minute it rolled nice and slowly, and then would suddenly speed up to get through intersections being held open by police. We also had to let them know that they had a flat tire, which was repaired later at a church stop; they had no intention of stopping the parade.
We didn't have to wait too long for the others and then decided to visit 34th Street, the most decorated street in Baltimore. I'd never been here before so was very excited as we walked towards the corner. Richard made me close my eyes and then led me into the center of the road before telling me to open wide. The street was incredible, bright and light, like a fairyland. Vibrantly colored bulbs were strung from every conceivable hanging place, across the street, windows, paths, steps and yards.I even tried to stand still and listen, curious if I could hear the hum of electricity. This street must have been visible from outer space. Everybody that walked up and down had their faces transformed into colored masks as they were bathed in the light from so many bulbs. But I couldn't hear any buzzing of power running along wires, although I could hear a loud snoring, and it was a while before I found a toy Santa on a ledge, fast asleep and emitting such loud snores that if he had been real, he would have woken himself up.
Baltimore's own Natty Boh made an appearance. I particularly loved the pure white Unity house and yard. There were even bicycles and wheels strung up with lights or made into tree shapes.
We finished the evening with dinner and beers before heading back towards DC. I drove home, with lights still softly glinting in my memory, and the sounds of polish carols and laughter still ringing in my ears. What a great way to start Christmas!