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Posts Tagged ‘fireworks’

I have never made a New Year’s Resolutions.  I figure, if I cannot get myself to do “whatever it is” during the year, then I am not going to follow through just because it is January 1st.  I have not even gone to a New Years Eve party in many years and I rather miss doing so. 

One of my grand nephews posted his New Year’s resolutions the other day and it made me wonder about New Year’s traditions.  Like most research, you never learn just one thing, when you start digging. 

Did you know?:

That, Auld Lang Syne is actually a Scottish song and is totally unreadable in English for me.  I really like Hamish Macbeth and Bagpipes and the landscape of Scotland and the lilt in their speech.  I just cannot always understand it.  Thanks to poet, Robert Burns, who wrote it, and Guy Lombardo, who first played it in 1929, we have a tradition that makes us feel, on January 1st, like we are part of something greater, as people all over  (okay, in your time zone anyway) sing the same song, at the same time, just with the wrong lyrics.  Sort of like our National Anthem, eh?  Check the link at the bottom of this post to view the proper lyrics.

That, Scotland is also the birthplace of Hogmanay (hog-mah-NAY).  This is a “rousing” Scottish tradition of “first-footing.”  Okay, when did the Scottish ever do anything that was n0t rousing?  That is why I love them so.  “First-footing” is when neighbors visit each other for New Year’s wishes.  They bring a gift of coal for the fire (which would be really welcome this year) and shortbread (which, I have had honest-to-goodness Scottish Shortbread and it is good).  It is sort of like our bottle of booze and cookies, which would be equally welcome.  The part I like is that it is considered especially lucky if a tall, dark and handsome man is the first person to enter your house after the New Year is rung.  Hmmmm, Viggo Mortensen, I will be waiting.  (HAH!  Betcha thought I could not figure a way to get him in for New Years?)

 On to Japan: As a symbol of renewal, New Years is a very important holidame to bid farewell to the problems of the past and prepare for a new beginning, and houses are scrubbed, with this in mind.  For several years now, I have said to myself “Whew! That year is done.  It’s gotta get better, next year.”  Now, I know where my problem lies.  This New Year’s day will find me elbow deep in soapy water.  I am working on a good new year.

Then, in Spain, they eat twelve grapes at midnight.  This secures twelve happy months.  So, I will be scrubbing with grapes in my mouth. 

In my Ancestral homeland of the Netherlands, at least the Dutch part, they burn their Christmas trees and shoots off fireworks to purge the old and welcome the new.  Since husband is allergic to what they put on fir trees, I have a plastic one.  Oh, the shame and totally non-burnable, so can I just burn the wood that is down from the tornado?  I am hedging all bets here.

So, this year, as the New Year ball drops in Times square and millions of people in fancy clothing gather to swill their favorite drink , eat cookies, and sing Auld Lang Syne , I shall be down on my knees scrubbing the house and eating grapes and blacked eyed peas.  This is a traditional southern dish and ensures I will have plenty of everything the rest of the new year.

And, what about my New Year’s Resolutions?  Those items the Babylonians are believed to have first made and broken? 

If we just work at:

  • treating each other with respect
  • treating our world with respect
  • and treating ourselves with respect

How can we lose?

It’s the first time I have used infoplease New Year’s Traditions  check it out.

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My grandson

My grandson

I was devestated the year dad told me I was too big to see the Fourth of July fireworks. Fourth of July had always ranked right up there with Christmas and Easter. The awesome show in the sky was like a present to me.  I understand now though. When you get up early and work hard all day, driving to anything is the last thing you want to do.

My favorite fireworks were actually not on the fourth. They were in Chicago, for Venetian Night. I took my daughters and we stood on the bridge and watch the lighted boats pass by. I think it was the first year and they didn’t clear the bridges when the fireworks went off. There were waterfall fireworks on each side of every bridge and it was like being right in the middle of a display. Oh, I guess we were. Probably not the safest thing in the world, but it’s an experience I’m glad I had.

As I got older, from that dreadful year I was too old for the fireworks, my brother first and then I joined the band. Each fourth of July we marched in a parade and that became what the fourth of July was to me. I still tear up at patriotic music (as my readers know, I cry easily anyway) and flags waving. I love taking kids to the parade because I get to be a kid myself and enjoy their excitement.

Our town, Nashville, has Parade day. One day, early in summer, when they hold one parade to cover the year. Last year, when the boys were more active in the Volunteer Fire Department, they joined several adults dressed in turn-out gear and haz-mat gear and did John Travolta moves to disco dance, while standing in the back of a pick up truck. They were a town favorite to be sure and the truck driver said he had to go home and recover from whip lash.

One of my grandsons transferred this week from weekend warrior to full time soldier. My heart hangs a little heavier for him and all mother’s sons.

The fourth of July has taken on a new meaning for me. It is no longer the thrill of a light show of fireworks, nor the sound of a band, drums on the march, excited high school students in a parade with flags waving. The fourth of July to me is a time to stand up and cheer and applaud our soldiers everywhere.

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After we took the second and third boy from their mother’s home, I was so stressed out that I did not sleep more than two hours at a time for a good three months. I still find it necessary to sleep with a book on tape going to keep my mind from wandering/remembering.

 

The stress resulted, or so I am told by doctors, in my having a spasming artery that necessitated emergency open heart surgery. It has been a year and a half now since my surgery, and I am trying to balance things out with good memories and funny movies.

 

With that in mind, I have a few of those, the memories, that I did not list in my first list.

 

I attended an outdoor party one night, long ago, and someone brought a very good telescope, they built with their father. The moon was a full and awesome sight. I almost touched it. Honest!

 

The first time the music festival was held on Navy Pier in Chicago, I had the privilege of sitting on bleachers that were far from full, and spending time getting lost in the music of B.B. King. It felt like a private concert.

 

I think that everyone should spend two years of their early twenties living in Chicago. There is so much to see and do there and, while I never lived in Chicago, I did attend two years at U of IL, Chicago Circle, over eight years working downtown and another three years at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

 

Another memory is Venetian night when the illuminated boats sail on the river. I was watching from one of the bridges when the fireworks that lined everything started going off. I was right in between fireworks strung on each side of the bridge. I don’t think they allow that anymore, but I am glad I was able to experience it.

 

The fireworks over Lake Michigan are another fantastic thing to see. One of my big childhood disappointments was when dad felt I was too old to bother taking to the fourth of July fireworks in our Indiana town.  No one is too old for fireworks. 

 

I was driving through, maybe Kansas City, KS on a fourth of July and saw some spectacular ones once. But, the best ones were spent on the porch of a friend’s house on Lake Dale, in Indiana. He lives right on the lake and the homeowners there try to outdo each other with fireworks. We sat on his porch, with refreshments, and watched for hours as they set off one after another of their fireworks. It is especially beautiful when reflected in the lake.

 

This memory is not so happy, but is very memorable. I was one of the first cars allowed into Yellowstone after the fire they had, ?in the late 80s? I was alone, on an art selling/placing trip out to California. The water bucket helicopters were still dropping water and the burn smell suffocated the air. I drove for a time and all looked normal, then I would turn a curve and it was mass destruction. The last half of the trip, the tears were flowing quite freely.

 

I will go to sleep tonight remembering these special memories.

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