I always remember New Year’s Day as a quiet day. It was the calm after the New Year’s Eve drinking and laughs. As a kid New Year’s Day was spent with the curtains closed in the living room while my mom watched TV on the couch lying down, while my dad stayed in the bedroom sleeping off the Strohs and crock pot cheese dip.
Yes, my parents were keeping things dark, quiet and in slow motion because they were both a bit hungover.
I don’t recall what my brother usually did on New Year’s Day, but I spent it mostly in my bedroom getting the most from my Christmas morning haul before school started up again in a day or two. Battling Imperial Forces on the Ewok Village or attempting to transform Jetfire from an actual jet to an Autobot in record time whilst Van Halen or Twisted Sister played on my GE tape player.
Food was leftovers or whatever you felt like because nothing was getting cooked fresh on NYD. Cold cuts, some of that dip from the night before, or leftover Christmas candy were on the menu while mom watched whatever movie was playing on TV. If there was a football game then you could hear the remnants of that making its way from mom and dad’s bedroom(dad had a small color TV mounted to the wall in their room.)
As I got older the toys turned into more music in my bedroom while pining on about some girl I liked in Biology or Spanish class to a friend while the parental units healed from late night cards on NYE with another couple or two. Euchre or Rummy or Skipbo, take your pick. All I know was that there was a lot of laughing and guffawing coming from the kitchen until the wee hours of the morning. Maybe we’d rent some horror movies so a pal and I could entertain ourselves while the New Year Baby and Father Time drank Canadian Clubs and 7-Ups with my parents and the Kohrs or the Fraleys.
The basement was also a spot where us teens could go to avoid being embarrassed by drunk adults. We had a billiard table and a dart board down there where many summers were spent in the cool cinder block-lined comfort of the unfinished basement playing 9-ball and listening to AC/DC, Ratt, and Black Sabbath. So this was the perfect escape from drunk parents on NYE. Plus, we used to bring our miniature schnauzer down as well and play a kind of keep away game with him. We’d run around the pool table in socks on the concrete floor while Klaus would chase us barking like a mad dog trying to get to us. It was fun and also mildly terrifying imaging what he’d do to us if he caught up.
Once I got to drinking age and owned a home my wife and I would have friends and family over for New Year’s Eve. Of course we’d be the ones drinking and saying/doing embarrassing things, and on New Year’s Day it was our turn to keep the curtains closed and lie on the couch watching movies or binging shows while nursing that hangover I’d heard so much about as a kid.
I honestly have no great memories of New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day, with maybe the exception of January 1st, 1995. That was the day my niece Chloe was born. I remember going to the hospital that day and seeing her for the first time. I was an uncle. That felt kind of strange and wonderful. That was also the first New Year’s Eve that I could’ve drank but didn’t. Instead I spent it hanging out with my girlfriend and one of my best friends playing Super Nintendo. That was nice as well.
New Year’s Eve got more fun with my own kids. Spending the night binging movies and eating meatballs till 1 am, then getting up in the morning and making cinnamon rolls. No hangovers because we kept it pretty quiet and mellow. I would enjoy a few beers, but nothing too crazy.
Nothing too crazy…no billiards or dogs chasing you or Ewok Village battles. Just Young Justice or horror movies enjoyed with a couple Old Styles, some processed meats, and kids wanting to watch the sun come up on a new year.
This New Year’s Eve was the quietest yet. Two beers, some carnitas, and movies about eccentric artists, free climb mountain climbers, and topped off with a show about teenage assassins. There may have been processed meats and cheeses, as well as wheat crackers involved.
Our movie-binging children were all out. Two were with friends and our 21-year old was with her partner 3 1/2 hours away. Maybe she’s got a hangover. Who knows?
Despite the quiet and calm New Year’s Eve, the following New Year’s Day was spent as if we’d partied like it was 2029. Which is to say on the couch cuddling with a different miniature schnauzer eating cinnamon rolls, drinking coffee, and watching a movie. No hangovers to mend, other than the one 2021 has certainly dealt out to us relentlessly on an almost weekly basis.
I don’t know what to expect from 2022. I mean, I guess I never know what to expect from any year. I just hope my family does okay, you know? No major injuries or maladies. Maybe I can push the writing a bit more, and practice guitar more often than the year before. I already know the fate of my employment so that’s not hanging over my head any longer. My oldest graduates from college in June. Our youngest will be a senior in high school, while our 18-year old plans to move into an apartment with one of her best friends sometime in the summer. My wife received a significant bump in pay and benefits from her employer, so that’s exciting. I guess we’re heading into 2022 with high spirits and cautious optimism.
Then again, so did we in 2021. That didn’t turn out so well.
Whatever happens, happens. 2022 is at this point a clean slate. It’s a bouncing baby New Year, eyes wide open and ready to take on the world. Let’s hope between January 1st and December 31st, 2022 that baby makes the most of its 12 months. I think we’re all counting on it.