By Keith Fisher
I remember when I was kid, seeing discarded, fancy party hats and noisemakers at Grandma’s house on New Year’s Day. Us kids were allowed to play with them and it was fun, but I wondered what I was missing. What was the source of the noisemakers and joyful toys? I wanted to stay up late on New Year’s Eve and watch the reverie, just to be in on the goings on, but I wasn’t allowed.
"When you get older," Mom would always say, and I was left to my wild imagination about the rituals participated in, on that night of all nights. I don’t remember when I was finally allowed to stay up, but I do remember being disappointed. I wondered why I had cared so much. There were no party hats, noisemakers, or joyful toys. I think we played Monopoly and Grandpa won (as he always did on Sunday afternoons).
When I drifted away from the beliefs of my parents and began to experience another, non-LDS life I found a forum for the celebration, but I never saw any party hats. When I went on my mission, I still kept the ritual of sleeplessness (but with a somewhat more sedate form of entertainment). I remember my companion sticking his head out the window on a snowy night in Gander, NewFoundland, and shouting "Happy New Year" at the top of his lungs. All in all a very daring thing to do, but still no party hats.
When I got married and it was just the two of us, we wondered what the point was, and started watching Dick Clark in New York but still no party hats. Now that I’m older and sedate is a state of being, I wonder what all the shouting was about. A few years ago, my daughter was determined to stay up until midnight. She was fine until about ten, when she began to drift off. Through a series of pokes, jabs, and wrestling matches, we managed to keep her awake, but when it was finally time to sleep, she couldn't. She was too keyed up from wrestling. It was fun, but I think she wondered where the party hats were.
So now that I’m old—I don’t drink, I don’t have any fireworks to light off, and I normally stay up all night anyway, (I work the graveyard shift). I’m left to wonder two things: What is the point? And what was the ritualistic purpose of those party hats?
Good luck in your writing and remember it’s just a change of date on the calendar.
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