Ring It In and Bring It On

Midnight. 1/1/1977. I am standing at an open window in an apartment on the not quite, but just almost, seedy side of Lafayette. There was a bar across the street. We had no phone. If you had to make an emergency phone call, you had to go to the pay phone in the bar. I was 16, but that didn’t matter. It was Louisiana, back when the legal age was 18. I was a busty big girl at 16, I had no trouble passing for 18.

I was alone at midnight 1/1/77. I was very sad and in a morose mood. It had been a bad year, 1976, or a t least it ended badly. Evil Ann took our possessions and claimed them for her own and had us kicked out of the house we shared on a little side street in Broussard. We spend a couple of weeks in the Acadian Motel before moving in with one of Dot’s offshore/drinking buddies. Sybil was a floozy, Dotty West look alike, rode hard put up wet kinda gal. Living also in the two bedroom apartment was Sybil’s “Can’t commit to being a lesbian, I just like to say I am one” daughter and her ex-beauty queen daughter who could turn anything into an accessory. She was like the MacGyver of the Suzanne Sugarbaker set.
I was alone at the apartment, I had the bedroom window open and I stared out into the night. I could see the back of a pretty nice neighborhood. It was as if the houses were turning their backs on the low rent apartments and bars, shunning us like pissed off Amish people.

It was cold that night, I remember the fog of my breath when I exhaled. 1976 had seen me displaced, living out of Comeaux’s district, my mother had to drive me to school every day in a Ford that had no heater and would shimmy if you topped speed 35. The first round of firecrackers heralded in 1977, from the neighborhood. So 1976 had left the building, Thank You! The last few months had been so dark and unsettling that I could feel tears of relief pooling in my eye sockets.
From the right of me, in that neighborhood, a lone trumpet played Taps. I cried freely, it was such a high lonesome sound, so like my mood that it seemed providence had brought us together. The night was so calm and clear, no wind, everything completely still. Father Time ’76 crept away on tired old feet while Baby New Year ’77 crept in on unbruised dimpled knees.
New Years Eve has always had a sore spot with me, I always ended up alone, greeting the year with Dick Clark. Once married, I swore I’d never be alone New Years Ever again. Once back in Mississippi, I've never spent NYE alone.
From NYE 87-95, the New Years Party was at my house, it was muh thang. The ringing in of 1995 was to be our last shindig, there was a planned mutiny and I jumped ship before it could happen.
Now it’s not so important I be with someone at New Years minute. Long ago and fat away is the time I had a sweetheart to smooch at midnight. I’ve even slept through it a couple of years. I’m always a little sad at year’s end, an old friend passing. I’m always hopeful that the New Year will bring happiness.

Auld Lang Syne, the international "New Year" song, always makes me a little misty. The melody is haunting and beautiful and the words true. Happy New year to you and keep your old aquaintances close to your heart. Also, keep your heart open, you never know when a new friend is going to walk in.

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