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Kelly Cheek
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The Carols

Long ago, in a little island kingdom known as Great Britain, there lived a troubadour named Philip Anderson. Philip was a gifted minstrel and songwriter, a child prodigy, and his music was so greatly sought after that his name became well-known throughout the island kingdom before he had even reached manhood.

Philip Anderson grew into a young man of pleasing form and demeanor, and became known for dallying with the young ladies as much as he was for his songwriting. Indeed, his name was often shortened to PhilAnder, and he was known in some circles as Ye Olde Playa.

As a troubadour, it was his responsibility to travel to townes and villages, plying his craft, for it was in the job description. Though, truth be told, Philip thought that the word troubadour came from the root word “adore,” and since he loved to be adored, he decided that this must be the job for him.

Being of a giving nature, Philip particularly loved playing during the Yuletide season. Not only did it give him a warm feeling to see the comfort and joy that his music brought to his audience, but many of the female listeners were especially grateful.

One noteworthy year, Philip embarked on an exceptionally ambitious Christmastide tour. He mapped out several townes he wanted to visit, on the main island of England, and even on the Emerald Isle to the west.

As was usually the case, news of his approach preceded him to the next location, and his arrival was heralded by the towne crier. He would perform, receive adulation, and move on, often with many tears left in his wake.

As he approached Covington, a crowd had gathered on the outskirts of town, watching for his entourage. A bodacious blonde, pretty and faire, caught his eye, and he romanced her during his short stay. Many of his songs of an extraordinarily soulful and romantic groove were directed toward her that night.

Her name was Carol.

When it came time for him to move on to the next stop on his tour, Carol bade him goodbye with tears and wails most pitiable. She left an impression on him, and he found himself picturing her in his mind when he sang at subsequent gigs. No other woman had ever affected him so deeply.

Not until he came into Wexford, the farthest point on his tour. Wexford was a lovely village on the southeastern corner of Ireland. That’s where he met a vivacious ginger, a vibrant redhead who stole his heart.

Her name was Carol.

During his performance, Philip’s attention was divided. He sang, as usual, to the yellow-haired Carol he had left behind in Covington, but her face kept being supplanted in his mind by the fiery Carol in his audience.

The next morning, when it was time to leave Wexford and work his way back toward home, he left Carol the Red with mixed feelings. He was going back to the main island of England, and closer to Carol the Faire, but he had to leave this new woman to do it. He now had two Carols occupying his mind and heart.

At all of the engagements he played after that, he was confused. How could he feel so strongly about two very different women? That confusion came through in his music, and he garnered critical acclaim for his newfound depth and angst.

His final stop was Sussex, south of London. He sang, as usual, with Carol and Carol listening in his mind. But a dark and sultry beauty was among those in the audience that night. As Philip sang, she kept drawing his attention, and her face began swirling around with the Carols in a twisting tapestry that threatened to drop him in a dizzy heap. Still, he played beautifully, and the locals rewarded him with shillings and ovations.

The babe introduced herself after the show, and the attraction continued.

Her name was Carol.

Philip had not realized, until that tour, how insanely popular the name Carol must have been. But he just couldn’t choose one. All three of them had laid claim to his heart, and he was at a loss as to which one to give it to.

In his misery, he did the only thing he knew how to do. He wrote a song for each one of them, The Covington Carol, The Wexford Carol, and the Sussex Carol.

Then, in an act of romantic desperation, he turned his back on the little island kingdom altogether, as he embarked on an extended tour of the American Colonies, in what he liked to call the British Invasion.