Thursday, December 31, 2015

December 31: Forever and Ever, New Year's Eve Party, Ebola and Amen

With pained but transcendent eyes, bearded and regal, He would come down the central aisle toward Ives, and placing His wounded hands upon Ives' brow, give His blessing before taking him away, and all others who were good in this world, off into His heaven, with its four mysterious winds, where they would be joined unto Him and all that is good forever and ever, without end.

The last paragraph of Mr. Ives' Christmas.  The last day of 2015.  Ives is in church, an old man.  He may be dreaming, or he may be entering into his eternal reward.  There is a certain finality in the passage.  A Second Coming, as it were.  The end and the beginning.  Alpha and omega.

Happy New Year's Eve.  I am at my family's annual get-together.  We have had weenies wrapped in crescents.  Cheetos.  Peanut butter M&Ms.  Cheeses.  Crackers.  And now that everyone has eaten their fill, we have moved on to board games.  So far, we have played Apples to Apples and Mad Gab.  We are now moving on to a game called Times to Remember.

This afternoon, on my way home from work, I stopped by the cemetery to visit my sister's grave.  Her stone was buried under a few inches of fresh snow.  I brushed it off so that her name was visible in the cold air.  Then I stood there and said a little prayer.  Told my sister that she would be missed at the New Year's party.  You see, she was always in the thick of things.  Cooking in the kitchen.  Playing games with the kids.  Making sure that everyone was having a good time.

The party's a little quieter this year.  My parents went to bed around 7:30 p.m.  The kids are older, less rambunctious.  The two older ones (my daughter and her friend who's a boy) are texting and laughing.  My son is watching videos on my sister's iPhone.  And the Christmas tree is flashing and rotating in front of the window.

The crowds are gathering in Times Square, huddled in the cold, waiting for midnight.  In some parts of the world, it is already 2016.  The countdowns have been chanted.  The fireworks shot off.  Champagne drunk.  Kisses exchanged.

Last year on New Year's Eve, I made the mistake of saying that 2015 had to be better than 2014.  I was wrong, of course.  Let's do a greatest hits of 2015:
  • my sister died of lymphoma of the brain
  • my kitchen ceiling collapsed
  • my teenage daughter is in high school
  • my teenage daughter is dating (I think)
  • my job as Poetry Editor of the university's literary magazine ended
At midnight tonight, I will not say that 2016 will be better than 2015.  If I do that, I will probably end up contracting Ebola or mad cow disease.  Instead, I will raise my glass of sparkling juice and simply say, "To those we love, to those we lost, we raise our cups for happiness and peace."

Saint Marty is ready for a new year.  A leap year.  A year of goodness.  A year of blessings.  Amen.  Alleluia.

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