After the Fact: Another New Year’s Eve


It’s been eons since I stayed up on a New Year’s eve long enough to watch the crystal ball drop in Times Square. We didn’t have a TV in our house until the mid-1950’s and, for the Morgan kids, it was just another early-to-bed night. I don’t know when I first grasped the “significance” of the changing from one year to the next. In fact, I’m not sure I do yet. When you’re my age, one day is pretty much the same as the next unless you have a doctor’s appointment. And you try to schedule those as early in the morning as possible so you can come home in time for a nap.

A glass of “the bubbly” for the senior crowd means having an Alka Seltzer before bedtime. It’s a tradition in the south to serve black-eyed peas for “good luck” on New Year’s day (don’t ask me for an explanation!) We had posole with enough green chile to give you a whole new aura to go with your new year.

By Thanksgiving, we’ve finally managed to get all of the clocks in the house and cars changed from Daylight Savings to Mountain Standard Time. Now, we’re expected to put “2018” on our checks (for those of us who still do that sort of thing). My bank, I think, will forgive insignificant things like a wrong date so long as I remember to sign on the bottom line.

Every age has its challenges: for my great-granddaughter, Patience, it’s “take-aways”.  Even when I draw 242 apples on her tree, she doesn’t understand that she cannot give her best friend Autumn 316 apples. I can hardly wait until we get to the “gazintas.” By then, her other best friend Ethan will have 632 apples that all of the friends should be able to divide equally. Without a knife. Daughter Chris is caught in the middle of trying to keep up with a 10 year-old and slowing down enough for me. Patience wants to go-go-go. I want to hold-on, wait-a-minute or maybe-later.

There was a time when I could hardly wait for the next year to arrive with another birthday, another Christmas and all the exciting things I’d imagined might be waiting.  Now, they whiz by so rapidly that I barely have time to write my resolutions before I’ve broken them. My younger friend, Brendan McNees, said his resolution last year was to be around long enough to celebrate another New Year, and he makes the same one every year. I think the secret to making resolutions or promises at any time of year is to stick with the sure things. Or the pretty-sure things. Or the probably-sure things.  Brendan’s chances are a lot better now that he’s retired from the Army. 

After you think you understand the comings and goings of the Gregorian calendar year, try figuring out the logic behind the “fiscal year.” Or a school year. Or a year according to your representatives in Washington, D.C. And why do some holidays fall on the same date every year but others “float” around the calendar like free radicals? I appreciate Cinco de Mayo. It’s on the 5th of May, no matter what! Sort of like having midnight mass at midnight on Christmas eve. Except the last time I checked, the Catholic Church in my home town scheduled “midnight mass” for 10 p.m. One of these days, the networks are going to figure out that viewership would increase if they could show the New Years’ festivities in Times’ Square on the 6 p.m. news. There would be a whole lot more of us seniors awake at that hour.

And a very happy and very, very healthy 2018 to all of you and yours.

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