I've celebrated lots of New Years.
Mostly I celebrated them
with my eyes closed
and my face snoring.
But occasionally I managed to stay awake
and watch the ball drop-
even enjoyed a hoop and holler
along with Dick Clark.
(Back when his hair was black).
There were special New Year memories, too
like the first one I spent with my husband...
Like the first time I toasted with champagne-
(the bubbles not nearly as sweet as I had imagined)...
Like us playing cards with my sister and her husband-
the four of us watching the clock intently-
Not so much anticipating the midnight hour,
but anxiously hoping we could hurry up
and go to sleep for the night.
Age does that, you know.
But some of my favorite New Years
are ones I have to reach far back in my memory for.
Back to the little house in Summersville-
tucked back by the old County Farm-
in a bedroom with wooden floors
and a lumpy full sized bed.
There- on New Year's Eve
a radio would be playing.
It was an old brown radio-
it's plastic case chipped on one corner,
The "tubes" glowing in the back-
And the sound was a tinny monotone that
chattered into the night hours.
My sister Linda and I would spend
the entire day in our room with Dad's radio.
It was announcing the top 100 songs
of the year-
and we were writing each of them down
on looseleaf notebook paper.
Now- to record each and every song-
all top 100-
was our "Undying Mission".
Broken pencil lead or
our noses bleeding to death
was no acceptable excuse
for missing a number.
There was Julie, Do You Love Me?
Love Grows Where My Rosemary Goes...
and who could forget The Rapper,
Let It Be, or Bridge Over Troubled Water?
Years before that
there was Hey Jude, Lady Willpower,
Yummy, Yummy, Yummy,
and Suzie Q.
Born Free, Monday, Monday,
Black is Black and We've Only Just Begun
all bring back a place in time
that still is tucked away in that corner
of a childhood dream.
I don't remember dancing,
but we would loudly sing to the songs we knew.
We'd take turns going to the kitchen
or the bathroom-
fearful of missing a tune
and leaving a big blank on our list.
And as the night closed in on the top ten,
we'd make a contest out of
trying to guess what would be Number One.
And at midnight -
(after a long, long day)-
we would have a few pages of wrinkled paper-
scribbled and written with the songs of the year.
But to us, they were priceless.
I really don't know what we did with it after that.
Probably got it out once in awhile to sing something.
Possibly showed it off to all the kids
that didn't have the patience or fortitude
to hole up in their rooms for a day
listening to a disc jockey.
On New Years Day,
the old brown radio went back
into Mom and Dad's room-
next to Dad's bed-
and once again began
cranking out ballgames on KMOX.
Then night settled on the old County Farm,
and a whole new year began to bloom.
Dad's Camel cigarette glowed like
an orange dot
and Linda and I snuggled in our
lumpy bed -
ready to face the new year-
content as two sisters
ever could be...
All because we had Our List.