In our own backyard...New Year's comes in with a bangSomehow it has always seemed important to stay up until midnight on New Year’s Eve.
By: Wendy Johnson, Pine Journal
Somehow it has always seemed important to stay up until midnight on New Year’s Eve. I think all of the hype over the exact time the calendar officially turns the page to a new year keeps us motivated to be there when it happens.
But other than the din of noisemakers and the occasional kiss at midnight, nothing all that extraordinary takes place at that time. You don’t feel transformed in any significant way, and nothing particularly magical swirls through the air (think Cinderella at the stroke of midnight....).
Still, midnight on New Year’s Eve holds a certain fascination for all of us. In our younger days, we no doubt saw it as an opportunity to go out and party with our friends, or put on a lavish buffet at home, or travel to some exotic location to bring in the new year on a high note. To sit at home on New Year’s Eve and turn in early always seems like something of a cop out.
I admit that my husband and I haven’t ushered in the new year at midnight for many a year, however. We usually have a nice dinner, or spend the weekend in a log cabin on the North Shore, or sometimes go to some special event, but normally we are turning down the covers well before midnight and falling into a sound slumber as the new year creeps in.
This year we figured things would be different. We had two of our kids and their friends coming home over New Year’s weekend. They’re all in their 20s and 30s and filled with youthful energy and enthusiasm. I felt sure this was the year we would easily stay up until midnight – and maybe even beyond!
The day of New Year’s Eve dawned mild and fair. We decided to go out skating on the hockey-rink-sized clearing our neighbor had plowed out on the lake. For nearly two hours we skated and took in the fresh air and got quite a workout. During the afternoon we walked the dog in the woods and got more than our fair share of exercise.
In the evening, we sat down to a big meal and then lounged in front of the fireplace before deciding to go back outdoors and light a bonfire. We sat around it for a couple of hours, basking in its warmth, roasting marshmallows for s’mores, visiting and telling ghost stories.
My husband, Ken, finally announced he was going inside to check on the fire in the fireplace and take a shower and said he would probably plan to stay in after that. One of the girls decided she was getting chilly so she decided to go inside as well. The others announced they were going to stand around the bonfire until midnight, and we did pretty well until the fire started dying down and the chill of the night started settling in. It was still well before the New Year when the rest of us decided to go indoors as well.
We were sitting around the living room fireplace and watching the 10 o’clock news when my son discovered that I’d forgotten to chill the bottle of champagne I’d bought to open at midnight as we welcomed in the new year. I suggested he put it in the freezer on top of the ice maker so it would chill faster.
At 10:30 p.m., we decided to switch the channel to Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve, but we felt so bad watching the effects of the stroke that Dick Clark had suffered that we decided to switch to CNN to watch Anderson Cooper’s New Year’s Eve show. His guest host, comedian Kathy Griffin, had inexplicably decided to strip down to her bra, however, and the humor seemed forced and slightly ridiculous. We channel surfed until around 10:45 p.m., when our daughter announced she was sleepy and heading for bed. A couple others drifted off as well, so Ken and I headed into our bedroom to watch television until we got tired.
We did manage to stay up until 11 p.m. and watch as the ball dropped in Times Square at what was midnight Eastern Standard Time, and then we turned it off and switched out the lights as well. By the time midnight rolled around, the entire house was dark and quiet and the new year just kind of slipped in on its own – almost.
The forgotten bottle of champagne on top of the ice maker had begun to freeze and somewhere during the late-night hours, it burst. It seems the New Year came in with a bang after all.