Another grain in the sand of time moves on tonight and with it we shall see the end of one year and the beginning of another. At this time of my life it passes as from one week to another. I no longer feel I must stay up to hear the bells or gongs announce its arrival. Whether I am alive or dead, asleep or awake the New Year will begin at the stroke of Midnight.
Hearing the wind howling and the rain beating against my windows I am glad not to have to travel out in it tonight. The Outdoor Festivities for Belfast have been cancelled due to the adverse conditions. I have candles at the ready in case we lose power. My plan for the evening is to have a little drink later on before getting tucked up in my warm bed with a good book.
I have no desire to dwell on the highs and lows of 2006.
Instead I will recall a variety of different ways I have seen in the ‘New Year’ in the past. In my childhood my father would re-light the Christmas candle in the living room window and we would all kneel and pray for all those who were no longer with us. The ‘Prayers’ seemed endless and I am sure I was not the only young member of the family wishing I could go party with my friends.
In my early working days in Dublin, I did have the opportunity to party and one memorable one was a party with work-mates. One of the lads hosted the party while his parents were away. During the evening some bright spark let a pan of oil spill all over the kitchen floor. Thinking of how my friend’s mother would feel if she came home to a dirty kitchen, I set to clearing it up. I was still on my knees with bucket and floor cloth as the bells chimed.
A few years later when I lived and worked in Germany we spent a memorable New Years Eve with friends in the Taunus Mountains. We had a late dinner and as midnight chimed we toasted one another in Champagne and sang ‘Auld Lang syne’ before going outside to light some fireworks and watch as those in other hamlets and villages around the mountains climbed and filled the night sky with colourful patterns.
In the late 70’s I travelled north to spend the New Year holiday with my new found love. We partied with some of his friends and a good time was had by all. One year later we decided to spend our first New Year as a married couple, quietly on our own. It was rather special as that was the evening our daughter decided to remind us that it was to be the only time where we would be alone, by giving me a kick for the very first time. She never stopped moving from that moment on. Five months later she was born.
Another year in those early days I decided to host New Year at our house. I carefully planned the guest list and we invited about four couples. I spent time planning and preparing the food and refreshments for the party. On the evening we set up the table and sat back with a drink to await the arrival of our guests. Midnight came and went and there was no sign of our guests. At about 12.30am still on our own and feeling let down we started to clear everything away. Just as we finished there was a ring at the doorbell and the first couple arrived. They were followed about 10 minutes later by the next couple and so on. They had each been to several houses before coming to ours. Why, oh why did they not think to tell us that this was their usual routine?
I think I have given you enough of my celebrations from the past so now may I wish you ‘Enough’ for 2007.
This little poem is something I found on the Unitarian Church website sometime last year.
- I wish you enough sun to keep your attitude bright.
- I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun more.
- I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive.
- I wish you enough pain so that the smallest joys in life appear much bigger.
- I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.
- I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.
- I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final goodbye.