December 30, 2008

Happy New Year

We've gone through a number of New Year's "traditions" over our years of living in the Midwest. There were several party years, until one year, the day before the party, the hosts announced they were breaking up, and the party was canceled. That was the year I convinced my friend Susan (also an attendee of the former "party") that we should all go to a New Year's Eve contra dance. That started a new tradition of dancing the night away — four hours of high octane dancing followed by a midnight dessert potluck. We did this for more years than I can remember, and it was great fun. Then, with my parents getting older and living in a condo in Florida, we started spending the holidays with them. New Year's Eve consisted of an early dinner at a Chinese restaurant, and that was pretty much it. After my mother died, we continued spending the holidays in Florida with my father, and later, my father and Rose. The restaurant would occasionally change, but not the scenario. The evening was mostly quiet and early, except that there was usually an "incident" involved. My father was not a patient man, and the incident may have been precipitated by something as seemingly insignificant as having to wait too long at the restaurant, or having the menu options changed from the last year, but it always created a bit of discomfort. My brother and sister-in-law, who live in Florida, sometimes joined us, but occasionally the "incidents" would become too much for them, and they would skip a year or two, much to my dismay.

One "incident" I particularly remember was the year I broke off the key in the lock to my father's front door. We had just gotten home, and it was cold, dark and later than usual (for us) and we had no choice but to go back to Rose's condo to get a phone book and seek out an emergency locksmith. (My father needed all sorts of medications that were inside his condo, and there was no way he would have waited until morning.) After several failed attempts, I finally reached an unlucky locksmith with a cell phone. He was obviously at a New Year's party with his wife, and I could hear celebration (and her distress at his leaving) in the background. He was a good 45 minutes away, and when he finally arrived, he could only do a temporary fix on the lock, which would have to be replaced the next day. Whew. I won't go into any more details but it was quite a night.

Last year was the first New Year's without my father, and my two brothers and I spent our time in Florida emptying the condo. I honestly don't even remember where I was on New Year's Eve. It seems erased from my memory. This year we will spend a quiet evening at home. We went to a "night before New Year's Eve" contra dance last night with Susan and her new fiancé, and had so much fun my husband and I decided we should start dancing again. But today I'm feeling quiet and a bit nostalgic.

I hope all of you have a happy and healthy New Year. I look forward to reading your wonderful blogs in 2009.

P.S. Don't forget to eat black eyed peas for good luck in the new year! Here's an easy and delicious recipe for Texas Caviar, or Black Eyed Pea Salsa.


  1. Happy New Year, Andrea! I'll be thinking about you.... but not at midnight, since my midnight is already past, according to my body, so I'll be in bed. (I just got back last night.) But I hope you have a great evening. Thanks for the stories. I remember when you broke the key!

  2. Happy New Year! I hope you have a safe, warm, and wonderful new years eve, and that the new year brings you all that you are hoping for :o)


  3. Happy New Year! You taught me my first "learn" of the new year, I had never heard of a contra dance before!

    I made some carrot and parsnip "coins" which I am hoping will rival the good luck of those black eyed peas since I didn't happen to have any of those little guys on hand! -

  4. Happy New Year, Andrea! Hope this year brings lots of good things your way (and no broken keys) ;). And glad that your NYE this year was much less stressful than the last one. Happy 2009!

  5. Thanks for all your comments and New Year's greetings!

    Alisa, you should try contra dancing—it's good fun and good exercise.

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