For as long as I can remember, I’ve protested the notion of going to bed early on New Year’s Eve. Come to think of it, for as long as I can remember, I’ve protested the notion of going to bed early on almost any night.
Because that’s exactly how hip I am. From the cradle. Bed times are stifling and New Years must be rung in properly.
In grade school, I observed two alternating traditions. The first was a night at the roller rink whose cover charge included party hats, confetti, and blowers. There were also wicked cool games like skating backward and racing. The second was having several friends come over to spend the night. We’d stay up late shooting bottle rockets, playing cards, and hanging out by a bonfire. One year my parents checked out a Turbo Grafix 16 from the video store.
The last of those parties was in 8th grade. Only Jeremy and BJ came over that time. I had been watching tv alone in the family camper when I walked back out to a firecracker war already in progress. I heard the whistling of a whistle chaser as it zipped toward me and POW! That left a beautiful burn to the right side of my face which wouldn’t heal before school started back.
I went over to Jeremy’s house the next day but went home early when OH NO! they were smoking.
The next year I’d get a camcorder for Christmas and so that year my friends and I adapted classic literature and popular movies into our own low-budget spoofs. And Jeremy filmed my grandmother making hog jowl and black-eyed peas.
He said, “Hey, Granny whatcha making?” and proceeded to remove the lid. He said, “eww, what is that?” She told him and explained the superstition. He had never heard that before. She was glad when he moved along to something else.
On another eve, a friend’s band played at a church lock-in. In 12th grade, I went with my youth group to a winter camp in north Alabama called Breakthru.
In 1999, home from my first semester of college, I played Connect 4 with my little brother and anticipated the great power outage and worldwide chaos. I had seriously debated stocking up just in case. Thankfully, my folks help pull me back from that craziness.
In 2001, I flirted with the prospect of new love. December had been a long pseudo breakup with a pseudo girlfriend who claimed we were just friends. My friend invited several of us to a party at an old train station in his hometown. Each of my friends bore that same hope. I danced with several girls and imagined the possibilities. Afterward, a bunch of us went to Huddle House for an extended breakfast.
Nothing would come to be with any of my dancing partners. And that pseudo girlfriend would later be my wife.
2003 was the year Donna, Jeff, and I met with Lori and her friend at the bowling alley. We weren’t down with billiards so she and I walked over to Waffle House. Jeff joined us after awhile and we were there when the ball dropped saying “happy new year” to the truckers and waitresses. I wanted to kiss Donna at midnight but Jeff was just across the table. I kissed her anyway but only after Jeff covered his face with a menu. I had purchased a ring but Donna did not yet know about that.
Late December ’04 was mere days away from our wedding. She and her mom trekked off to Disney World together. I hung out with Jeff and Lori who asked if I was sure that getting married was what I wanted to do. It was.
In 2006 we were here with Donna’s mom. This time I called to her from the back porch so to make my move without the prying eyes of the MIL.
I talked to my mom earlier today. Her plans were more lively than my own. They were going to my sister’s house for ribs (I think). I’d like to be there too. I told her my plans were “lame and uneventful” and that I would be home.
She could not have been more pleased with that answer.
I’m okay with it. I may even go to bed early.
Happy New Year…Yawn!