Misunderstanding the lyrics to “Walking in a Winter Wonderland”

I make it no secret that I have a hard time understanding the lyrics to most music. Usually, Christmas music is an exception. Christmas songs are the same, year after year. Even more helpful, if you’re in a choir or if you attend church, often the lyrics of Christmas songs are printed out and handed to you so you can sing along. Even with all that help, though, Walking in a Winter Wonderland is a song that took me a long time to figure out.

One part of the song goes as follows:

In the meadow, we can build a snowman
And pretend that he is Parson Brown
He’ll say, “Are you married?”
We’ll say “No man!
“But you can do the job when you’re in town”

As a child, I thought “Parson” was some guy’s first name. I figured he was some famous person I hadn’t heard of in other contexts. Clearly I didn’t think about it too hard.

But if you don’t realise that “Parson” means “member of the clergy” and “do the job” means “officiate your wedding,” you might think that the singers of this song were a bunch of floosies, and that they had another “job” in mind for him to “do” while he was in town.

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The Grey Literature

This is the personal blog of Benjamin Gregory Carlisle PhD. Queer; Academic; Queer academic. "I'm the research fairy, here to make your academic problems disappear!"

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