We have had our ups and downs this year, here in the States horrible weather conditions, bombings and other tragic situations, and overseas horrible events happening all over, from Europe, Russia, the Phillipines, Japan, Africa too many countries to name.
But here in the United States we've found reasons to hope and be joyful, from the rescue of a little puppy, to young women being found after being imprisoned for nearly 10 years, and the outreach of strangers to help other strangers.
Yes there are times when we wonder about humanity and the human condition and then glimmers of hope and compassion to remind us that all is not lost.
I know that in Asia and in Europe it is already 2014, and in just less than 12 hours here where I'm at, it will be the turn of the year, a new page to write on, a time to improve oneself, to improve relationships or decide which relationships are toxic to one's health and best left alone.
I do not make any resolutions, but I do make a list of what I need to do, yes a "TO DO" List, this would include repairs or maintance to the house, cars, wardrobe, appliances, what to weed out, sort out, dispose of, donate, putting together papers for income tax preperation, listing appointments both medical and dental to be made. Updating my calendar for birthdays, anniversaries, speical events and occasions.
But all of this starts on January 7th---why January 7th?
Well this is something that I and my siblings learned from our parents, and I guess they learned it from their parents.
The true 12 days of Christmas is really from Christmas Day Dec 25 to Epithany or Jan 6 of the following year, in our Family the entire religious season was from Thanksgiving or the Sunday after Thanksgiving to and through Jan 6 Epithany, from "Stir up Sunday" to "Three Kings Day". We had our Advent wreath which here in my home we've been observing, and certain days are set aside to put up the Christmas decorations and the tree, to fill the pantry and make ready both physically and spiritually.
Those Sundays we attended Mass were very important to us, Mid-night Mass on Christmas Eve although tiring was important to us, and ususally we'd go after visiting relatives for that was how we spent the Day of Christmas Eve, delivering presents, checking on the Grandparents, calling from one house to the other to let them know we were on our way and if we missed someone it was understood that the packages could be found at one or the other Grandparents house, and we always finished at Mom's Mother's house for a late supper, enjoying the Christmas tree making sure Grandma was o.k. making arrangements as to who was going to take her to church on Christmas day, she always said to us that it was hard for her to go to Midnight Mass at her age, Christmas Day was good.
I remember the last Christmas she had and the $2.00 tree but that is a story for another Christmas time.
Then the days after Christmas, writing out thank you notes, putting away the presents received, carefully folding and storing the wrapping paper (if it could be saved), going through the envelopes to make sure nothing was overlooked and checking the return addresses to update the address book and to note any special notes in them.
When we were children we'd play with out new toys or visit our friends houses to see what they got, if the weather was fine we'd play outside, if not then indoors and watching the sun when it got too low to hurry home, but as I and eventually Sis got older we'd help out Mom, our older brother (later our younger brother) would help out Dad and we'd be doing lists of things to be done.
Then after we'd help the folks we'd visit our friends.
New Years Eve was mostly the family getting together at one or the other's home, it would be pot luck mostly nibbles and soft drinks, but at midnight out came the champagne, the children and teens would have sparkling Cider, then just as the clock struck the 12th chime the front door would be flung open to welcome the new year, and we'd go out to the front lawn if the night was dry and yell out Happy New Year, tooting horns and cheering, one Uncle of ours always lite a small string of firecrackers on the sidewalk and we'd cheer and sing Auld Ang Sing, the neighbors would come out as well cheering and yelling, sometimes dashing across the street to wish us Happy New Year.
Then after an hour or so, things would slowly pack up and we'd all trickle home wishing Happy New Year to one and all. The next morning We'd get up, breakfast was not eaten unless someone was sick, we'd dress and go to Mass and then afterwards there was always a coffee shop or resteraunt open for New Year's breakfast, but if time was pressing Mom always had pastries ready for us to eat and then we'd go over to one of the Grandparent's house for New Year's Dinner, which was always served by 5 p.m.
I remember New Years we'd always have Ham, Easter would be Lamb Roast, Halloween roast Chicken, Thanksgiving and Christmas was always Turkey (Impossible to find a Goose to cook but Turkey was a good subsititute.
Every Friday we'd always have Fish, espeically during Lent, I still like to have some form of sea food during Lent.
After the Dinner we'd break up into groups depending upon what was being done, but even way back then, NO Televison, No Radio except for music---it was hard on the men folk, with all the bowl games on, if the games were on before 5 p.m. fine because the women folk were putting together the dinner but during and after dinner completely forbidden, it was a social time for family. I really liked the idea and fortunately my Sister-in-law is putting that into play. It will be hard on my brother and the boys but really it is a good thing.
On the days after New Years, we'd start to take down bit by bit the Christmas Decorations in doors with the exception of the manger scene and the Christmas tree, any large outside displays would be taken down except the lights attached to the house. My Mother always said that the Three Kings needed the light to find their way.
By the next day, the first thing packed away was the manger scene and then bit by bit the ornaments were removed from the tree and laid out on the couch and over stuffed chair to prevent breakage, the tinsel carefully removed and saved (tinsel was expensive and dangerous to birds to eat), the light would be unpluged first before anything was removed, next was removing the tree skirt, then the last ornament was the angel tree topper, Mother always put it on the dinning room table for safety sake, then the lights would carefully be removed or unwound from the tree starting from the bottom and slowly working upwards, carefully wound and wrapped so it would not be tangled next year, but somehow it always was.
Then Dad and my older brother would remove the tree from the water tree stand with Mother wrapping a towel around the cut stump to prevent water from getting on the hardwood floor and rug, Dad and my brother carefully carrying the tree out the front door and to the curb to be collected, it always looked so sad and dried up after its Christmas finery was removed, so Sis and I would tie a red bow on the top of it, sort of saying good by to our old friend. When the Scouts started collecting the trees and we knew what it was going to be used for it didn't seem so bad, it was going to have a new purpose replenishing the soil.
Then out come the boxes to store everything way, oh it would be an all day project, Mother never cooked on that day, Dad would call an order of food to a place called "Lola's Chicken Dinners", it was the crispiests, most moist, wonderfully cooked chicken we ever had, Nothing at all like KFC, it was the taste of home-made. When there was a big all day project, we knew it would be "Lola's" that day. We were sad when "Lola's" closed and then the building burned down, we'd hoped it would be reopened again, but times change.
However vacuming and sweeping tree needles for the next 6 months was a given, even after our careful cleaning when the decorations and ornaments were put away, a tree needle or two or three would always show up. Mom would always say "I think it wants to let us know its never forgotten." And that is going to be happening in my home as well.
So tonight Doyle, Coralline and myself will be getting together with Marissa and her folks and brother and young Chris and his parents for a family gathering at a speical place. We're bringing Brian along, he's been on the phone talking to his ex-wife and children on the phone, making plans to visit during the Summer, I've just been in touch with My Sister while she is visiting her family and I've made arrangements to have our elderly neighbor watch Belladonna and Weiner Dog while we're out. She is going to make sure they stay indoors because of the possiblity of fireworks in the area.
I've noticed in checking the Stats on my blog I'm being visited not only from the United States and Canada, but also South America, Australia, the United Kingdom and Ireland, Europe, Russia, China, Malaysia, Japan, the Netherlands, France, Germany, even the Middle East, so many countries, I'm glad that you find my blog of interest to you and of some sort of entertainment and perhaps a little insite to parts of the United States, although I am not typical of this country.
To you I wish you a very Happy New Year.
And there have been a few of you who post comments on my blog and take interest in what is going on in my life, to Rebecca, Trisha, Lucretia, Underground for Tea and others Thank you and I wish you all a very Happy, Safe and Wonderful New Year.
See You Next Year Darklings!
|From Doyle and Myself Happy New Years Darklings|