Thursday, December 31, 2015
New Year's Eve
In my boyhood, ours was not a party-hearty household. My parents, religious and conventional, didn't drink--much: some sherry now and again. Dad would occasionally buy bock beer and tell my (disapproving) mom it wasn't "beer"; it was "bock." There's a difference!
I remember, by the way, being shocked to discover that they drank at all. They had preached abstinence, and when I discovered some hooch (in a cabinet above the fridge), I was full (for a while) of that disappointment and disgust and indignation that teens feel when they discover that their parents don't always walk the walk they've talked.
(Obviously the public consumption of sherry and the bock came after my Sad Discovery.)
Anyway, I don't think I ever stayed up to welcome the New Year until high school when our CYF (Christian Youth Fellowship) held a series of placid parties, which generally disbanded at 12:00:01 a.m. on January 1.
Later--now a wild and loose college student (and beyond)--I partied somewhat hearty. Stayed up late; fired down beers (I never really liked "hard" liquor); got sleepy; stumbled through the following morning.
Joyce and I (I recall) spent our first New Year's Eve together as a married couple on December 31, 1969, just eleven days after our marriage. For excitement, we went to her parents' house and played bridge with them and with her uncle Paul and aunt Ruth (wonderful people all). Uncle Paul reminded me of my dad when he said he didn't drink beer--but offered me something called Hop'n Gator, a mixture of Gatorade and beer. (Yes, it was as bad as it sounds. Link to some info about it.)
We spent a subsequent New Year's Eve or two with them, as well.
Then we started going to a succession of parties. The Aurora Education Association (I was teaching middle school in Aurora, Ohio) sort of sponsored a number of "progressive" dinners for a few years, and we enjoyed those--though, as I think about it, requiring people to get out and drive to different venues on NYE was probably not the wisest way to organize a party--especially when many of those people had had a few, you know?
So ... for some decades we spent NYE with colleagues--Aurora, Lake Forest College, Western Reserve Academy, Aurora again (I returned after a four-year hiatus).
But then, in training to hike the Chilkoot Trail in Alaska (and Canada) in the summer of 1993, I stopped drinking cold-turkey. And when I got back, I thought, Why bother starting again? And so I didn't. Haven't had a sip of anything alcoholic since. This was not a "moral" decision; I was not an addict (I just stopped one day--have never regretted it). But I was getting older and figured enough brain cells were dying on their own without the help of Hop'n Gator, et al., so why encourage the loss of even more?
And nowadays, Joyce and I are almost never awake for the Fall of the Ball. We usually go out to dinner somewhere (6-ish); lately, it's been the Cafe Tandoor in Aurora. Maybe go to a movie. Then hurry home before many revelers are on the road, go to bed, fall asleep ... awake to a New Year.
I think the last time I stayed up was when Y2K was worrying everyone (the night it turned the year 2000, for those of you who are chronologically challenged). Will all the world's computers crash? (They didn't.)
Tonight will be equally tranquil, I hope. Dinner. Maybe a movie. Plop into bed. Hope the firecrackers don't awaken me (a neighbor always sets some off at midnight.) Get up, go read in a coffee shop.
I know ... b-o-r-i-n-g. And I love it.