It is hard to believe the year twenty-seventeen is almost gone. In just a few days we will begin a New Year. I’ve never been one to make New Year’s Resolutions as I have never been able to keep not one of them. I try not to even think about them. As I reflect back to my years of growing up when the New Years Eve Watch Party was a very important part of the year. I was so anxious to get old enough to go to the one held each year at the Greenwood Methodist Church. It seemed to me that New Years Eve day was as long as Christmas Eve day. It was exciting to just think I was going to get to stay up until midnight. That in itself was something special as I had never been up that late. “MIDNIGHT” oh, how grownup I was. I got to go with my big brother, Pat. I don’t know if he was proud to take me or just took me because Mama told him to. The latter I’m sure. He was a good big brother. He really never seemed to care if I tagged along. He wasn’t like my older brother, Carl, who told Mama to tell me not to speak to him in public. My youngest brother, Jim, has always been a good big brother to our baby sister, Jane.
Oh New Years Eve we arrived at the church about ten o’clock and gathered in the basement of the old rock church. We passed the time away before the midnight hour by playing such games as Jenny Crack Corn, Musical Chairs, and Put Your Left Foot Out, and drinking that wonderful hot chocolate with the big fluffy marshmallows floating on top. My best friend’s Mother wouldn’t let her go with me because she thought the games played at the Methodist Watch Party was dancing and she didn’t want her dancing. I was so excited as I had seen pictures of the tired old Father Time carrying his scythe. The New Year wearing only a diaper looking fresh and happy. Now that I am older I understand that picture of Father Time much better.
As the midnight hour was getting near the older boys got ready to ring the church bell. When the clock atop the Old Court House began to echo in the cold night air, the church bells began to ring. In the distance one could hear fireworks and occasional firing of a shot gun. A fresh New Year had arrived. I have tried to tell my children, grandchildren and my Greats about the Watch Parties and the wonderful hot chocolate with the fluffy marshmallows floating on top. They question, “What was so special about a cup of hot chocolate?” They have never had hot chocolate made with fresh whole milk. I try to tell them it was the big fluffy marshmallows floating on top that was so special to me. “Backward, turn backward oh time in your flight and make me a child again if just for a night.”
May the NEW YEAR hold only the best for you my friends. HAPPY NEW YEAR!