Wednesday, December 31, 2014
...The old year passes. As it does, we can only hope to be as festive as ol' Mickey here. And maybe not as killjoy as Frieda there in between him and the guy in the wizard hat. Sheesh - if looks could kill!
I've always liked New Year's Eve, in part because most years I've had a party, a tradition that started in high schoool, when my progressive parents (who could likely be jailed for such depravity in these low days) declared that if everyone who came had a note from their parents and a guaranteed ride home, we could all have a glass of Champagne at midnight. Those glasses were very modest indeed, drunk from tiny old hollow-stemmed Champagne saucers, but we all felt very sophisticated indeed - and indeed, we continue to do so all these years later, from those very glasses (although now I also have flutes for those who prefer them).
We're continuing the tradition tonight, with just a few friends and friends-of-friends over, my favorite kind of waifs-and-orphans, fairly last-minute, mostly improvised gathering. I made a big batch of Lobster à la Riseholme last night, and today I have to bustle around, polish a little silver, and generally get ready to make merry.
I've been going through old papers, and yesterday I found a batch of letters and assorted ephemera from a very long time ago. Out of the pile fell a Polaroid, the charring around the edges evidence that it survived the fire of '88 that took with it most pictures of my teenage years and after. There we are, at a New Year's Eve, four of us, happy and impossibly young in something like 1981. Three of us are still friends (Miss Rheba is one of them, you won't be surprised to learn), but the fourth was the first of us to go on ahead, a shocking college suicide just a few years later. I don't know that tonight we'll wax quite as raucous as we did then (caught as we were in the midst of an impromptu kickline), but we'll do as well as advanced years allow.
Any photo snapped tonight will catch us just as caught up in the moment as we were back then, as unaware of anything good or bad that lies ahead. That, I think, is the secret of New Year's Eve, the end and the beginning of each year: it's a chance to be entirely in the minute, shaking off the old and not yet knowing much about the new. Here we go again...