As kids, way back when, Christmas was a big day for us, Santa, Sleigh Bells, music, eating with family and friends, and of course, presents were the prize of the holiday. But, a couple of weeks later there was one more celebration to be a part of and that was New Year’s Eve.
New Years was a lot of fun for many reasons but the best reason was that we got to stay awake late. It was the holiday to let it all out with eating fun stuff, drinking hot cocoa and eating more candy than we ever should have. It was a holiday with no cares and since Christmas took up all the visiting family stuff, New Years was more relaxed. No presents, no big dinners or protocol mannerisms. Wearing pajamas, animal slippers, and paper hats with elastic chin bands which were always too tight, we endured the wait and counted the seconds to midnight while in the living room watching tv and goofing off. It was a ritual not to be undone.
About a half hour before the ring in, we picked out our gear to bang out the old and clammer in the new. Then waited. When midnight finally came, we grabbed the pots, pans, and spoons that Mom had gathered from the cupboards, and ran out onto the front lawn to wallop them as hard as we could. The louder we bashed the metal noisemakers the more we laughed and went silly wacky. The whole neighborhood would be out and joining in the racket. Jumping up and down without a care, running to and from neighbors lawns. Just gleeful childhood kooky madness that took us to that New Year celebration zone.
My Dad was always a gagster on New Years. He unleashed himself more than normal and was able to get away with it. Something I don’t think he did much as a kid. Giggling was everywhere. He would make jokes, scream, yell, run after us, and then laugh over and over just because he could. Eventually, he would point at me like he was going to *get* me (which he always did), tackle me and then tickle my knees. My knees have that giggle nerve. You touch them, I’m done. He did it all through my life. I can’t remember a time of my life he didn’t.
The night got even better when the fireworks came out. Dad would buy them in Oakland. Poppers and Sparklers were the fireworks du jour and they were a big deal. We would twirl the Sparklers in the air and run around with them. I used to love looking at them against the dark sky. They lasted a long time back then too, much longer than today’s sparklers. Who knew they could start forest fires, we didn’t even think of that. Instead of Smokey The Bear, we had a big old metal bucket filled with water where we dunked them. Dad would turn on the lawn sprinklers after we all went inside, but basically, that was that. The neighborhood was mud the next morning. When the pool was built in the backyard years later we would dunk them there and be done with it.
As I got older the fun of New Year’s Eve never wore off. I always wanted to stay up and celebrate. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting for that midnight call from Dad’s watch. By the time I graduated from high school the Dick Clark New Years Eve show unfolded and set its place in history, and the midnight kiss came into fashion along with the dumping of animal slippers and donning sandals or Frye boots.
The simple things in life have always made me happy. Love, smiles, dancing, laughing, friendships, music, love. They haven’t changed. *Maybe a new pair of shoes or a new record made me happy too, who am I kidding here*, but the basics are still there. I count myself lucky in the memory of those days and they are irreplaceable and are embedded in my heart and reflections. In fact, I have been looking for some animal slippers these days *on the hunt*.
2017 Reflections Are Worthy
It has been probably one of my craziest years. I have had a couple but this year takes the winning cake home. Needless to say, the political atmosphere has raised issues that I have never dealt with before; and I suspect that no one else has either. Despite that, it has all been invigorating at the same time. I feel that the veil has been lifted on much and the “go” sign is ready for taking on more of life’s rides for next year’s adventures.
With all the above, the inner peace of mind was sure hard to reach at times, but luckily the vortex of heated conversations and decision-making didn’t swirl me in and I feel very good about the outcome. I stayed pretty level-headed considering the climate of certain issues. Being angry doesn’t solve anything, but I believe being resourceful in perception was useful and wise in order to bear down some issues at hand during 2017. Understanding that made a big difference in my voice.
I also noticed this year my reactionary personality has turned to reason a bit more, but maybe not enough for some. I dare not take it all away as it enables my “gut” reaction and that I never turn down and as a result of that reasoning, the gut has always provided for me in my best interests. My intuition has always fared well that way.
When I think about it, my parents in their day of struggles, probably used those pots and pans as a way of dispensing frustrations of the year and celebrating the hope of a great new one ahead. Something as kids we would never have begun to understand running around in animal slippers. Having laughter and great memories are what kids should have. My parents did well hiding the bad when we were little to embed those good times in me, but with each year came maturing and age. Things just change.
This being the last post on Tales for the year 2017 is one of my reflections of life’s giving. It is the norm for most to do this at the end of the year. I am still not sure why, but we do. Resolutions, future aspirations, goals are made to make due to a better person. My resolutions are always the same. Be worthy of integrity.. and that works just fine for me.
I wish you all a very Happy New Year full of discoveries to brighten up your lives. May it be filled with wonderful long roads, trails, rides, and wrong way signs just so you can make those turns with curiosity and amazement. Marvel in the day and make memories to savor a lifetime.
Finally, everyone has pots and pans, so get them out and make loud noises of leaving the past to enter the next year with hope for a better world and lots of love to make it perfect and worthy.
Happy New Year 2018.
Til next time…