Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Year Ending, Another Beginning

As the New Year advances I'm reminded by www.goalsguy.com how some countries celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of the next:

AUSTRIA - The suckling pig is the symbol for good luck for the new year. It's served on a table decorated with tiny edible pigs. Dessert often consists of green peppermint ice cream in the shape of a four-leaf clover.

ENGLAND - The British place their fortunes for the coming year in the hands of their first guest. They believe the first visitor of each year should be male and bearing gifts. Traditional gifts are coal for the fire, a loaf for the table and a drink for the master. For good luck, the guest should enter through the front door and leave through the back. Guests who are empty-handed or unwanted are not allowed to enter first.

WALES - At the first toll of midnight, the back door is opened and then shut to release the old year and lock out all of its bad luck. Then at the twelfth stroke of the clock, the front door is opened and the New Year is welcomed with all of its luck.

SICILY - An old Sicilian tradition says good luck will come to those who eat lasagna on New Year's Day, but woe if you dine on macaroni, for any other noodle will bring bad luck.

SPAIN - In Spain, when the clock strikes midnight, the Spanish eat 12 grapes, one with every toll, to bring good luck for the 12 months ahead.

Some of these ideas are interesting enough to observe ourselves: the gifting of the first visitor to the home, dinining on lasagna, eating the grapes. . .well, we have the blackeyed peas for good luck. And we make resolutions. No longer do I create a list, makes me ill-tempered. But for posterity this time, here's my compilation:

I want to

remind my family more often how much I love and respect them,
continue to fight clutter,
dole out more compliments,
hug more,
keep in contact with my generation of cousins and elderly kin,
work with my jewelry like I'm the Grandma Moses of jewelry,
enrich the friendships with those I've formed
pray more dilligently for peace, understanding of those different from ourselves,
continue to support my country and appreciate my freedoms.

As our young family was growing, we celebrated New Year's Eve at Ann and Harry's along with their kids and those of another family. Now those kids are grown up and having their own parties. Later through my school contacts we began meeting with Vivian M who loves people and has the grandest year-end celebrations --and after 20 years we anticipate the wonderful friendships Vivian has introduced us to when December 31 returns. She always starts the new year serving her great biscuits, grits, bacon, and coffee.

And we are reminded that same night that oh so many years ago we welcomed our second son into the world, relieved that he made it before the first of the year. He had the looks of his so-called North American Indian ancestry (my grandmother was supposed to have had an Indian in the family) with his dark hair and olive complexion. His older brother, just turned one, was confused by all the hoop-la. This time I wasn't the frantic new mother begging the nurse to tell me what to do when I got home with the bundle of arms and legs. I had had a year to get ready.

We were fortunate to hire an excellent caretaker to help me and guide wee brother Jim into a routine.The memory of that woman remains, her name is lost. She taught me to reserve time with the toddler, take care of myself, and educated me in the routine of general family life that I needed at that time. She and her husband, a part-time minister, were killed in an automobile accident only a few years later. Thank you, my Caretaker, for your lessons.

Second son celebrates his 45th birthday this Saturday night. His distance away hinders us from celebrating this important event, and there's always a hole in our hearts. As a family we are big on togetherness, communication, and support. Happy Birthday, Scott!

And Happy New Year to all my friends, relatives, and occasional visitors!!

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