Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Brand New Day

“Hey, c’mon over and share a glass of champagne with me,” my neighbor Michelle said the minute she heard my voice on the phone.

Looking up at my wall clock, I said, “Now!?!?!”  It was a little past 6 PM, a long way to go before the ball drop.  

“Why not?”  Michelle said, matter of factly, “It’s new year in some part of the world!”

“Okay! I’ll be right over!”


I stopped vacuuming and bungie-corded the fridge.  Arnold, my five-year-old newfy opens my fridge and eats everything on the shelves while I’m away.  I had a box of Omaha steak defrosting in there, a special gift from my friend Jonie, and I wanted it for myself when I got back.

The vacuuming and housecleaning is a family tradition leftover from childhood.  The idea is to welcome the new year without the literal dust and figurative detritus of the past.  My mom always instructed our domestic help to clean every nook and cranny of our house every year in preparation for the new year.  As midnight approached, all the lights were turned on to help guide good spirits into the house, and all the windows were opened wide to cast evil spirits out.

How silly and superstitious, right?  Nevertheless, I still observe the practice to this day and by now it has hardened into a personal ritual.  I guess throwing the old pages of a calendar outside building windows holds the same symbolism.

It was an impromptu celebration.  I thought I was just coming over for a quick toast but Michelle’s friend Bill came over shortly and pretty soon we were all settled comfortably in cushy, cozy sofas chatting around a  roaring fire.   


Thirty minutes before midnight we switched the channel on to NBC to watch the ball drop.  Times  Square was aglow with neon lights.  Celebrities were clad in their holiday best.   Crowds were cheering and rocking to the sounds of Ting Ting and Ludacris.  The camera panned to people wearing funny hats and glittery 2009 glasses.  It looked so festive! 


I was there last year.  I had watched the ball drop from Times Square for decades.  When I had the chance to fly to New York last year, I made sure I would be at Times Square on New Year’s Eve.  The experience was not what I had hoped.   I blogged about it here.  


When the countdown started Michelle and Bill poured the champagne and I filled my fluted glass with the last half of my diet coke.  We stood up and clinked glasses, toasted, screamed Happy New Year and hugged one another tight.


It was a sincere heartwarming moment.  We were cozy and comfortable by the fire.  We forged new friendships.  We were where we were meant to be --  living and loving the now.


Look to this Day!
For it is Life, the very Life of Life.
In its brief course lie all the 
Verities and Realities of your Existence.
The Bliss of Growth,
The Glory of Action,
The Splendor of Beauty;
For Yesterday is but a Dream,
And Tomorrow is only a Vision;
But Today well lived makes 
Every Yesterday a Dream of Happiness,
And every Tomorrow a Vision of Hope.
Look well therefore to this Day!
Such is the Salutation of the Dawn!



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