2017- Uncharted Waters

When we were younger, the arrival of a new year was all about the celebration. When I was still in high school, our local movie theater sponsored an American Graffiti marathon on New Year’s Eve. That was also the year of a huge ice storm in my Southeast Kansas hometown. So, after watching the inspiration for the Happy Days TV series four or five times, we ventured out into the icy streets. My boyfriend’s mom had some treats prepared at his house, and instead of asking our parents to drive on the glassy pavement, we decided to walk (slide) the several blocks from the main drag. Another friend showed up with bottle rockets, which whizzed down the empty streets for what seemed like miles. An exciting, explosive celebration for sure!
          After a move to Arkansas, and finding the right man to marry, the New Year’s celebrations continued. When our kids were small, we took advantage of willing grandparents for overnight visits, and tried out some area restaurants for some special nights out. Then, as the youngsters got older, we challenged them to stay up until the ball dropped, and consumed lots of frozen pizza and cheese dip at home.
          When our nest began to empty, hubby and I ventured across the country for a visit with some friends who had moved to the East Coast. Arriving at the airport just before midnight, we welcomed the new year in a Waffle House between Baltimore and Washington. On that same trip, we enjoyed a brunch cruise on the Potomac. Great scenery, and memories to last a lifetime.
          Somewhere along the way, the turning of the calendar page became less about the party, and more about what the new year might bring. We looked back on varying levels of our kids’ education, and forward to what it would take to finish. Significant others came into the family, and talk of weddings and then grandbabies filled up our calendars and our New Year’s Eve brains. New countdowns emerged, as we realized that long-scheduled retirement benefits might actually be within reach, and we plotted the last day of our long-held jobs, and what might happen afterwards.
          Dick Clark, the poster child for the Peter Pan dream of never growing old, did exactly that, and after a last display of bravery, gave his seat in Times Square over to Ryan Secrest.  The world would never be the same.
          So, this year, along with the rest of the “last gasp” Baby Boomers, our ages will begin with the numeral six. A strange place to be. Just yesterday, we were putting on our new P.F. Flyers and zooming up and down on our Christmas bicycles with their banana seats and butterfly handlebars.  These days, we spend much more time in our recliners, saving our strength for the nine to five routines that we just can’t let go of yet.
          Once again, we are too busy looking forward to spend much time glancing back. For a few days in the first month of the year, we will be cruising in the warm Caribbean sun while most of you are shivering in the Ouachita winter weather. Before too long, we plan to return to Florida to meet our sixth grandbaby. There will most likely be a week devoted to Granny Camp, when we gather as many of the kids as possible for some wonderful chaos. The oldest grandson is now a musician, so we hope to be in the audience for some of his concerts and competitions. These coming events promise to be ten times more exciting than any one night celebration.
          From past experience, we know that there will be some surprises, some setbacks along the way. But, rather than dreading these things, we can take them in stride. There is very little that life can throw our way that can’t be handled with a little extra prayer.

          This year, I hope you find happiness in your own life, as you continue to enjoy my rambling thoughts. If you are so inclined, drop me a line in care of Ouachita Life. It helps a writer to know that someone is out there reading and reacting. There is no way to know what the voyage into 2017 will bring, but won’t it be fun to embark together!
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