Happy New Year, everyone!
However, if you were foolish enough to make a New Year's resolution or two, I can't help you. Resolutions made on New Year's Eve rarely make it to Three Kings Day so either avoid them altogether, or make sure resolution is user friendly. A few years earlier, I resolved to drink my way through every local brewery in Gainesville, tasting every IPA, imperial stout or lager I could get my hands on. As it happens, our little town currently had three excellent craft breweries so I haven't yet hit my goal, but I intend to keep trying.
Well, not a story, more like a memory.
It was Christmas Eve in Baltimore and I must have been five or six. Along with my other siblings, I was tucked into bed, no doubt dreaming of the loot Santa would bring. Deep in sleep, my mother's hands lifted me from the bed, quietly so as not to waken my little sister. Heavy with sleep, I clutched my mother like a monkey as as she carried me down the stairs where our empty stocking hung. At the front door, my mother set me down and threw open the door.
"Look," she whispered.
A burst of cold air and a swirl of white--snow!
It must have been snowing for hours as a blanket of glossy white had transformed our neighborhood of row houses into something strange and wondrous. Trees, cars, and houses covered in marshmallow fluff. And everything so quiet, as if I were inside one of those snow globes--my very own silent night. And then my mother hefted me up like a sack of potatoes and returned me to my bed, where visions of snowflakes, not sugar plums, now danced in my head.
I don't recall any of the presents I received for Christmas that year, but I've treasured that memory for decades, and it was only much later that I fully appreciated my mother's gift. None of the other neighborhood mothers would have woken a sleeping child on Christmas Eve, just so she could see a snowfall. And my mother might have chosen one of my other siblings instead of me. But she didn't--she chose me.
Oddly, I've never spoken of that night to anyone, not even my mother. Some things don't need words. And when Mom's heart stopped on a cold day in January, I thought of that faroff Christmas Eve and her gift to me.
Is there a moral to any of this? Well, I'll leave that to you. Right now, I have some black eyed peas to cook. Here in the South, we consider them good luck for the coming year.
The world could use a little luck.
At this time of the rolling year, it's customary to extend wishes for a better year. The faithful offer prayers for better times and the secular their hopes. In the spirit of the season, I offer both, with the gentle reminder that thoughts, prayers and hopes don't amount to a hill of beans without action.
Now that's a resolution I could get behind--a resolution to work together to make the world a more just and kinder place.
Happy New Year!