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Go Tell It On the Mountain Again

go go christmas


Christmas 1994.

The three-year-old choir children twirled and giggled as they were led in a knot of single-file to the carpeted steps at the front of the church. Perfect Shirley Temple curls were accentuated with red and green ribbon. Sprays of plastic berries and twinkling tinsel erupted from shimmering outfits.

And, of course, there were the obligatory boys.

A woman who looked like she’d lived through a thousand simultaneous Christmas Days staggered to the front of the throng of devout youth. She stooped (or collapsed, I don’t know which) onto the plush carpeting in front of the mass of pent-up energy, spread her hands like an angel’s wings and coaxed the assembled children to sing. Carols were on the menu for the church-folk that day, and we held our breaths in unison, waiting for the first tender notes to twitter forth from the platoon of cuteness.

Go Tell It on the Mountain. A classic spiritual, now Christmas carol, was the first number on the set list for the wee singers. An eager little girl on the front row got them started off flat, but it didn’t matter. Their wiggly, giggly fuel lit fires in our Christmas souls that long-ago night. We adults assumed the proper attitudes of worship, of contemplation, of prayer.

Go! Tell it on the mountain!

A little girl in the middle of the throng, the one with the red-and-green plaid tulle dress spun with gold, the one with the hairdo that screamed, “My mommy used every bit of her spit to style me this way!”, THAT little girl decided she was bored with the proceedings. Standing in a group of children singing in front of a thousand people wasn’t showy enough for her. She needed to do something much more, ahem, memorable.

Over the hills and everywhere!

She lifted her frilly red-and-green plaid tulle skirt spun with gold over her head, revealing frilly red lace underpants. Twirling and swaying in time to the music, she kept her skirt pulled over her head and could not be persuaded to lower it. Her arms were frozen, unbendable. Stuck in the erect position.

Go! Tell it on the mountain!

Meanwhile, a little boy happened to be placed immediately to her left. He could not help but notice the state of his flashy neighbor. I mean, we ALL saw her panties shining there in the glow of the spotlight. He looked at her fluttering skirt, eyed her come-hither panties, and got a look on his face that can only be described as belonging to a dirty-old man who’s just discovered the internet is for p0rn. With lascivious glee, he shoved both hands down the front of his Christmas green corduroy pants and got busy with his bad self.

In the mayhem that ensued, with parents, teachers, even the pastor, trying to break up the ungodly display while still maintaining a suitable aura of worshipful decorum, the Accidental Cootchie Mama sat in the back, apoplectic from laughing. I didn’t understand why people looked at me with reproach when ALL THAT was going on up front, but I decided Go Tell It on the Mountain would be my favorite Christmas carol of all time.

What is your favorite traditional Christmas carol?

Please post your selections today in the comment section. And remember, if you comment on this blog during this series, you have a shot at winning a either Christmas or a Crooner CD. Twelve chances in all. The more you comment, the greater your chance to win. Blog comments only.

72 Comments Post a comment
  1. I’m never going to hear that song with a straight face again. Thank you :)

    December 8, 2013
    • Oh dear. I hope you don’t hear it somewhere reverent and respectful, Fiona………….

      December 8, 2013
  2. Hehehe!
    And, of course, there were the obligatory boys.
    Good one, Andra!

    December 8, 2013
    • When I was little, the boys NEVER wanted to sing in the choir. They were just there to move their mouths and fill out space.

      December 8, 2013
  3. So, so, funny! HAHAHAHAHA!!!:D

    December 8, 2013
    • I still laugh pretty hard every time I think about it.

      December 8, 2013
  4. My personal favorite is “Joy to the World”. There were no displays of underwear or green corduroy pants involved in this choice.

    December 8, 2013
    • Hahahahaha. I love the Aaron Neville/Blind Boys of Alabama version of Joy to the World.

      December 8, 2013
  5. James Moffitt #

    Oh Holy Night is probably one of my favorites. Love the story. LOL

    December 8, 2013
  6. Jill Clary Stevenson #

    Silent Night. We always sing it at the end on Christmas Eve by candlelight. Nothing is more moving to me than that moment, gathered together with my fellow man, celebrating the birth of the Savior.

    December 8, 2013
    • I used to love Silent Night, until someone insisted that I sing it at Rotary one year. I get so nervous when I sing in front of people, and I didn’t have time to work myself through that. It was “Will you sing Silent Night? Right now???” Every time I hear it now, I remember how awful I made that song sound, because I was terrified.

      December 8, 2013
  7. Oh maaaaaaaaaann!!! I’ve also seen many a kid decide to flash the public in church while their parents died of mortification and adults busted gusts guffawing.
    “O Holy Night” is my favorite traditional carol. I’m also partial to “What Child Is This?”

    December 8, 2013
    • If one of these two had been my child, I still would’ve been crying with laughter. I cannot stop myself from laughing when kids do something like this. It is just instantaneous hysteria for me.

      December 8, 2013
  8. Silent Night – such a simple beautiful melody – and everyone has heard it!

    December 8, 2013
  9. Lol….I have new found appreciation for this song. And I love “obligatory boys.” My church just started a kids choir and my friend and I were trying to get our kids to join. She has a son and he was horrified/insulted that she even SUGGESTED such a thing to him. I–no kidding–BRIBED my daughter (while in church) with the promise of Monster High dolls if she joined. And yes there are three boys in the choir: they are also the alter boys. They had no choice.

    December 8, 2013
    • Glad to see that not much has changed since I was a kid. Boys didn’t want to sing then, either.

      December 8, 2013
  10. I love it! What a perfect way to start off my morning where I am about to leave to go to our church’s children’s Christmas pageant. I can only hope beyond hope that ours is as exciting as this one.

    If they sing “Go Tell It On The Mountain” I will be the one laughing my head off.

    Thanks dear!!

    December 8, 2013
    • Please let me know if anything hilarious happens, because I can laugh quite a bit just recreating it in my head.

      December 8, 2013
      • It was fun, but no “Got Tell It On The Mountain”. A few good moments, but no upskirts.

        December 9, 2013
  11. Traditional is such a diffuse word…I mean this song was written in 1941. Is that old enough to make it a classic?
    I first fell in with it thanks to Emmylou Harris and then this version came out>

    Is 1987 old enough to be traditional? 11:55 on 12/24 we always play this…so I think so.
    http://www.theguardian.com/music/video/2012/dec/06/the-pogues-feat-kirsty-mccoll-fairytale-of-new-york-music-video

    December 8, 2013
    • Whatever speaks (or sings) to you with the prompt works for me, Robert.

      December 8, 2013
  12. You are such a riot, Andra! Always give me a laugh when I need it most.

    God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen – old English version, is my particular favorite. Aside from the fact I can actually remember the lyrics the refrain, “Oh tidings of comfort and joy”, reminds me good things are possible and I better get my you-no-what together for the coming year!

    December 8, 2013
    • I love acapella versions of God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen best, particularly sung by groups of men. I don’t know why.

      December 8, 2013
  13. “Oh Holy Night” is my favorite.

    I have a photo of me somewhere practicing with other kids for advent services, and I have one hand in my pocket with my middle finger on display. I’m grinning while looking at the camera. so I like to think I was doing it on purpose.

    December 8, 2013
    • Of COURSE, you were doing it on purpose. You were a little boy, trying to do something to stand out in front of a group. :)

      December 8, 2013
  14. I am actually surprised that neither of my daughters did this. Although my oldest has always had a boyfriend. In kindergarten my wife was visiting during recess or some such. My daughter said to her boy at the time “let’s go butthead.” His response to my wife, “she always calls me butthead.”

    Aaahhh young love.

    December 8, 2013
    • I always hated boys, because my family would tease me relentlessly if I even looked at a boy. But, I did play kissing girls on the playground when I was in first grade.

      December 8, 2013
  15. I saw mommy kissing Santa Claus.

    December 8, 2013
  16. By and large, I hate it when the kids’ choir sings. But eevery once in awhile, this kind of thing happens, and I have to laugh.

    December 8, 2013
    • I hope you have one of these Nutcracker moments, Jessie. And, I hope your children are not participants. :)

      December 8, 2013
  17. We had the EXACT same album when I was growing up so I grew up with that version of Tell It On the Mountain as well. But did I miss something when you posted “Christmas 1994″ at the top? Wouldn’t you have been about 24-25 years old?

    December 8, 2013
    • Yep. This is a lovely memory from my first marriage. I don’t have many.

      December 8, 2013
  18. There are still days when I wish I could just lift up my skirt and cover my face. And little girl panties are precious. Go Tell it on the Mountain is an ear worm that makes it difficult to think of any others. In the Spiritual vein I also like Children Go where I Send Thee and I’ll admit it’s not Christmas without the Nutcracker Suite and the Hallelujah Chorus.

    December 8, 2013
    • If I did that, people would get QUITE a show. But, I know what you mean. :)

      December 8, 2013
  19. Man! I think of all the years in church and nothing this funny ever happened.

    December 8, 2013
    • I don’t have many of these moments, but this one is priceless.

      December 8, 2013
  20. Funny, funny, funny. I would have been right there laughing with you, Andra. The only funny thing that ever happened in church involved Christmas was me, when I was an angel of the Lord, and tripped during dress rehearsal, bending my aluminum foil halo. Yep. I fall everywhere.

    I was just listening to James Taylor’s version of Go Tell it on the Mountain, which is one of my favorite traditional hymns. Not sure if it is traditional, but, love a version of When a Child is Born by a long forgotten Irish tenor.

    December 8, 2013
    • Traditional is a fluid definition. :) Have you written about falling and bending your halo? That ought to be a funny and appropriate seasonal selection.

      December 8, 2013
  21. omg i love this story so much, i would have wet myself from laughing so hard which would only add to the mayhem, making me laugh even harder. best show ever.

    December 8, 2013
    • This was one of those instances where the more I tried to stop laughing, the more I laughed.

      December 8, 2013
  22. I’d have been right there laughing with you, Andra, likely with tears rolling; hearty laughter will bring ‘em on every time. :)

    It Came Upon A Midnight Clear and Oh Come All Ye Faithful are just two of many old, traditional Christmas songs that I look forward to each year. In more recent years, I have also come to love most anyone’s version of Mary Did You Know. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mN70R-3ao0U

    December 8, 2013
  23. Ahahahaahaah! Oh my God! Seriously…*snort*.
    Oh boy…I’m really never ever going to listen to that song again in the same way…

    I think my favourite Christmas song is from the group Avalon called “Light a candle” :)

    December 8, 2013
  24. Oh my.!! This made my evening.! hahahaha…

    December 8, 2013
  25. This is just hysterical. Had I been parent to either child I would have died, but it IS tremendously funny. I’m pretty sure I’d have lost it, too!

    One Christmas at our church the pastor came down to the steps and pulled all the kids close to tell them the “Christmas Story.” Our son Jonathan was about 8. The pastor said, “Children, do you want to hear a story?” And Jonathan yelled at the top of his voice, “NO!!!!!” And I got the giggles…I was embarrassed, but it still struck me as hilarious. It’s one of my favorite stories.

    My absolute favorite traditional Christmas song is, “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” It makes me a little weepy every time it’s sung well. :-) That’s how I judge whether it’s good or not. Tears! LOL!

    December 8, 2013
    • The spontaneous things kids do are just THE BEST. Even when they’re not. :)

      I love that one too, Debra. I have a couple of versions of it.

      December 10, 2013
  26. This story… mind = blown.
    I love you Andra.

    As for favourite Christmas song, mine is Do You Hear What I Hear? I like almost all versions, but I’m partial to Johnny Mathis’ and Whitney Houston’s. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20_eed97Lzw

    December 9, 2013
    • I love that song as well, Nancy. I particularly loved the way Whitney belted it.

      December 10, 2013
  27. Carlos Ovalle #

    I guess this one’s off-limits because… it’s not a Christmas carol and certainly isn’t traditional, but it’s the only song this time of year that makes me smile so by default, my favorite. One out of three ain’t bad. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qUCNAnp2QAI

    December 9, 2013
    • I love this one too, Carlos. I could listen to it year-round and smile.

      December 10, 2013
  28. I blame the mom for giving the girl frilly red underpants to wear. What little girl wouldn’t want to show those off? Or big girl for that matter :)

    December 9, 2013
    • Lots of big girls show theirs off these days, don’t they?

      December 10, 2013
      • Some minus the underpants … :)

        December 10, 2013
  29. In England at Christmas a folk supergroup St Agnes Fountain is reformed for a short tour. They do some traditional songs, but they do some rewritten carols too. Here is Hark The Herald Angels Sing, to the tune of Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean, complete with vocal tick!!!

    December 9, 2013
    • You already know how much I loved this one, Laurence.

      December 10, 2013
  30. and now it will be my favorite. I have an arsenal of church stories myself. The setting just lends itself to mischief. :)

    December 9, 2013
    • I hope I never did anything this terrible to my parents in church. I’m sure my mom could tell some stories.

      December 10, 2013
  31. Shame it wasn’t fiddler on the roof

    December 9, 2013
  32. tarakianwarrior #

    Holy Bloomers Batman!!!! (Thank God (or somebody) they were not holy – as in had holes in them.)

    December 9, 2013
    • I was too teary-eyed from laughing to notice that much, Lori. I really think I hyperventilated, I was laughing so hard.

      December 10, 2013
  33. Hahahahaha! Those kids definitely know how to celebrate a holiday the right way.

    December 9, 2013
    • Don’t they? I’ve always wondered what happened to those two. They would be in their twenties now.

      December 10, 2013
  34. Oh. My. God. Tears of mirth. Glad I didn’t read at work…

    December 12, 2013
  35. Well I’ve never heard Go Tell It On the Mountain, but now I think it’s my favorite. That’s a wonderful and hilarious story, although I’m sure somewhat embarrassing for the spotlight parents . . .

    December 24, 2013
    • I still laugh every time I think about it or hear that song. Hope you’re having a lovely Christmas.

      December 25, 2013

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