Ring In The New Year

Are you partying tonight? My celebration will be small, just me and one of my sons and we’ll toast the New Year around ten o’clock because it’s midnight somewhere. 🙂

Tomorrow I’ll make a few of the good-luck dishes, just because I like them, and enjoy a day of working on a new jigsaw puzzle.

A good friend sends me jokes and memes that I often share here on the blog and this one for New Year’s has such a wonderful message. I hope you agree.

There is so much wisdom in that message, especially the part of being cautious and respectful. Too often in this time of quick responses to things online, or on the road, or in a store, that are aggressive and offensive, we respond with aggression of our own. In words or in actions.

Consider what “don’t touch anything” could mean in our lives. Not literally of course, or we couldn’t do our jobs or take care of our daily needs. I couldn’t make my morning coffee without touching the coffeepot, and I really enjoy my coffee.

When I thought about that phrase, I wondered if it was tied to the caution and respect part of the message. Respect the property of others. Don’t steal from a neighbor or a store or a place of work.

It can also be part of the encouragement to be good and quiet. Step back from the angry, hateful discourse on social media or at the local club or tavern. Don’t engage. Don’t respond. Don’t touch it.

It’s been years since I made any kind of New Year’s resolutions. They tended to rarely last past Valentine’s Day anyway. Who can stick to a diet when faced with a gorgeous box of chocolates?

This year, however, I think I will resolve to try to live the message in that meme as best I can. The respect part is easy. My father taught me about that when I was a kid. Not by a particular lesson, but by the way he treated other people.

Goodness will also be relatively easy. Another virtue instilled in me by good people who were instrumental in forming the adult I am today.

What will be a challenge is the “quiet.” On one level, the quietness needed to meditate and regroup is something I’m getting better at. But I don’t think I can be quiet when it comes to speaking out against injustice in the world, and maybe that isn’t what the message in the meme is asking.

What do you think?

It would be very difficult for me to stop writing the opinion pieces here on the blog. Processing events through writing has been a habit since I was in high school, and that’s not altogether a bad habit to have. Not everything needs to be published, however, so maybe I will be more cautious as I step into 2023.

Now, here is a bit of humor from my book, A Dead Tomato Plant and A Paycheck. Enjoy…

The day after Christmas was usually one of the best and one of the worst days of the year for our family. If that doesn’t make sense to you, don’t worry, I’m not sure it does to me either. But let me try to explain. It was the best because:

There were now 364 more shopping days until Christmas.

It was the one day of the year when perhaps the kids were just as tired as we were, and they’d sleep off and on all day.

All the buildup for the Big Day was finally over, and the noise level in the house had dropped about twenty decibels.

I didn’t have to cook since we had all those leftovers from Christmas dinner. (If we didn’t have a big Christmas dinner, I was in trouble on that score.)

The kids would decide they liked each other after all, and we could go the whole day without a fight—maybe.

The kids would invite me to color with them, or play a game, and we could share some really good times together—as long as they let me win now and then.

But every coin has its flip side, and the other side of this day was:

After the glitter and tinsel of Christmas, after the giving and receiving, the celebrating, singing and eating, we could all sit back, unbutton the waistband of our pants and try to decide who would clean up the mess.

Who would get to spend the next four days sorting through the thousand-and-one little pieces of games, toys, and puzzles that in less than one day managed to get tossed together from one end of the house to another?

On Christmas day everybody was super nice to everybody else, but the day after the house was filled with moaning and wailing and the sounds of blood-letting and bones breaking…

“Find that Stratego piece or I’ll break your arm off and beat you over the head with it!”

“I never touched your Stratego game! Mommeee!!”

I guess four days out of my life wasn’t too much to ask.

Then too, there was the question of who would dig through the twenty-two bags of trash to find the instructions for assembling the model airplane, because, for once in his life, a kid cleaned up after himself and threw them away with the wrapping paper? (Since that same kid would think nothing of digging through the neighbors’ trash to see if they threw away anything he could put to good use, maybe I could pawn that job off on him.)

Who would accept the challenge of figuring out what to do with all the unidentifiable things we received as gifts, such as the strange looking thing from Aunt Mildred that could either be a doily or a dishrag.

Or the gadget from Uncle Willie that favors a Chinese puzzle, but could actually be his eccentric approach to the can opener.

Or the game that takes an IQ of at least three-hundred just to open the box.

Or the funny little knitted things from Aunt Lucy that are either thumb-less mittens or toe warmers.

I could’ve called the relatives to personally thank them for the gifts, and hope that somewhere in the conversation they’d mention what they are. But that would’ve taken some of the fun out of lazy summer afternoons when we’d drag this stuff out again and play a new game called “What on Earth is It?”

What ever your plans are for the New Year’s weekend, be safe. Be happy. And do leave a comment on any resolutions you might be making this year.

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