Friday, December 31, 2010

Bringing in the New Year!

For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
T.S. Eliot, "Little Gidding"

New Year's Eve was always a big event in my younger years.  My dad would pass out the silver dollars, those that were fond of herring would have a fork full, everyone got a little champagne, and we got to stay up past midnight!  We would gather in the living room, standing in front of the black and white, and count down with Dick Clark!  10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 - Happy New Year!  Everyone would kiss and hug and toast in the New Year.  It's one of my most precious memories as a child.

As I grew older, I would spend New Year's Eve with friends, but, if I was close to home, I would sneak out of the party at around 10 to midnight, and go to wherever my family was gathered to bring in the New Year.  I'm not even sure my friends would know I was gone because I would be back as they were still celebrating the New Year.

After my dad passed away, and my siblings began expanding the family, my brother took over the celebration.  With pots and pans in hand, while listening to the radio, we would count down, and, at midnight, we would bring in the New Year with my nieces and nephews banging pots and pans, bottle rockets going off, and the Christmas tree sending of the prettiest sparks.  Then the music would be turned up full blast and we would dance!  Shine!  My brother would be swinging a kid throw his legs, my self-conscious sister who never dances would be dancing, and everyone would be singing Shine! at the top of their lungs.  The times were not the most pleasant for each family, but, if you saw us on New Year's Eve, you would have never guessed.  It is one of my family's fondest memories.

Now, everyone is older, and the family does not gather together.  The other day, my niece suggested that maybe Uncle Karl would have a party like the old times.  So, on this New Year's Eve, my husband, having grown up in a home where everyone was asleep at midnight, will be sawing logs, and I will watch the countdown with Maggie at my feet, waiting for the phone calls I know will come.  Then, I will call my mom and whoever hasn't called to wish them a Happy New Year!

The first year this happened, I cried.  I cried because I was taught that how you bring in the New Year is how the year will be.  Bring in the New Year with celebration, love, and laughter (and a clean house), and the year will be filled with great things.

I pray that someday my family will realize how important family still is, and we will gather at midnight, hugging and kissing, and wishing our loved ones a very Happy New Year!  Until then, please be safe and smart. 

You may be okay, but the other guy on the road may be over the limit.  Lastly, remember to call me at midnight because I will be waiting to hear your cheerful voice wishing me a Happy New Year. 

I love you all!  Happy New Year!
Aunt Janet

P.S.  Here are some of my favorite songs for bringing in the New Year!  Please listen to the pieces I've chosen - they are beautiful!
Auld Lang Syne
Same Old Lang Syne  (This is who I had back stage passes for.  I knew that you would know who he was once you heard the song.  Yeah - met his parents and brothers, partied with the band, but never met Dan - even though they said if I swung my arm around, I would have hit him.)

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