Saturday, December 31, 2011

A New Year...a New Focus?

In the fledgling days of the New Year, 1973, Sister Therese went up and down the rows of students in her fifth-grade religion class, asking each of us to name our favorite Christmas present. I remember telling her, “walkie-talkies,” only because she repeated what I had said, slowly and syllabically, as if walkie-talkies were, maybe, instruments of the devil or, more likely, something completely unfamiliar to her.

At the top of my Christmas list, 1972, were walkie-talkies, and when old St. Nick didn’t deliver the goods, I looked to a New Year’s Eve miracle as my last best hope. The ten-year-old me prayed that the walkie-talkies gift idea had been passed on to my godmother, who turned up on New Year’s Eve every year—an annual tradition—and actually bought me real presents. She was both a generous and kindly woman, and her husband was an incredibly nice man, too—born in Germany with a thick German accent. He couldn’t be my godfather because he wasn’t Catholic, which I thought was silly then as a little boy and even sillier now. He should have been my godfather. Two years later, though, he was gone. A freak accident, and an even more freakish blood clot, took his life at the age of forty-two. Both a good man and a New Year’s Eve tradition ended without fair warning.

Since that time—almost four decades ago—I’ve found New Year’s Eve more depressing than not. As a kid, it underscored that Christmas was over and, worse than that, Christmas vacation was nearing an end, too. There was nothing more disheartening than returning to school after a Christmas vacation. What was there to look forward to anyway? I know what—a long stretch of school days in the bitterly cold depths of wintertime.

So, another year is gone and I am a year closer to the end than the beginning. This is, in fact, the essence of the New Year. But then again, it is also—as this far-sighted manager I once knew at a place I once worked said—“a New Year, a New Focus.” Perhaps he was on to something there! Happy New Year!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.