Our lives have changed considerably since the days when we got excited about the prospect of New Year's Eve.
I think back 38 years to a time when Dan and I were young, married, and not yet parents.
I remember buying tickets for New Year's Eve parties at local social halls like the Knights of Columbus, the Elks Lodge, and American Legion.
I remember getting all dressed up and going to party with all our friends ... plus a hall full of our nearest and dearest strangers.
I remember cheap champagne and plastic cups.
I remember really bad buffet meals served from sterno warmed aluminum pans in wire baskets.
I remember that they ALWAYS featured mushy mostaccioli, corn dumped straight from #10 cans, and flavorless iceberg lettuce salad with that ugly orange colored French dressing.
I remember never-to-be-famous live bands playing the hits of Jim Croce, Tony Orlando & Dawn, & Roberta Flack.
I remember them totally destroying "American Pie", and everyone loving it.
I remember my clothing reeking of tobacco after the hours spent in a hazy, smoked filled hall.
I remember waking up the next day with a headache and cottonmouth.
I remember having a blast and loving every minute.
We haven't gone to a ticketed New Year's party in many, many years. Do they even still have them in small towns?
As the years progressed, we upgraded to expensive special events at fancy restaurants. The food and champagne were much better. The musical entertainment more refined. But, we were still celebrating with a bunch of strangers. Then we began to gravitate to house parties with only immediate friends and family. Those were nice. We'd probably still be doing that if we hadn't become grandparents, and by extension babysitters.
This year, we are celebrating the New Year with two of our grandkids. Their parents are in the event business. And as you can imagine, New Year's weekend is a busy time for them. That means Dan and I get to spend three full days with the boys.
Grandson #1 started out yesterday by making "Happy New Year" cards for all of our neighbors. We're going to walk around the neighborhood and deliver them today.
Then, both of them got into the foam stickers and decided to create scary New Year masks. It turned into a sort of fusion of Halloween and Mardi Gras. But, somehow it works. Don't you think?
Today, we're going to visit the Science Center to see the new Dinosaur exhibit. And we're planning to take a drive through Lone Elk Park to see all the elk and buffalo. We still haven't decided what we might do tomorrow or Sunday. So many possibilities.
Mostly, we're just going to be grateful for our family and extended family and friends.
And grateful that we didn't spend last night eating bad food, drinking bad champagne and listening to a talent-challenged band.
Happy New Year to one and all!