It’s New Year’s Eve and I’ve packed my bag with the things I’ll need for the weekend. I packed something fun and sexy for tonight’s party with Goose and his friends. I’m so excited to be going ‘out’ to celebrate this year. I enjoy house parties. Being invited to someone’s home. They’ve taken the time and made efforts to entertain friends and family. As I begin my drive north to Goose’s house, my mind wanders back. My very first New Year’s Eve party was when I was 16. I was invited to a house party by Sean. He was a brand new boyfriend with blue eyes and red wavy hair. And his birthday was the same day as mine in August. I thought that made ‘us’ special. Of course what did I know.. I was 16 and this was my very first real boyfriend.
My first date with Sean was just before Christmas. He had invited me to go Christmas Caroling with a group of his friends.. and then to someone’s house for treats afterwards. The night was warm for December. We were in a neighborhood I didn’t know. Sean was the only person I knew. We walked together a bit behind the rest of the group and we were holding hands. It was soo romantic as the snowflakes sparkled when they began softly falling. It was like glitter swirling gently inside a snow globe. We were inside the snow globe too… walking in the romantic glow. Once back at the friends’ home, everything was decorated so cheerfully. His mother had assembled cookies and snacks. Music was playing on a record player. (It was 1974.. they had record players back then.) I was so excited to be included with this group of new friends. They were all from the town next to mine.. complete school rivals. It made me feel just a little bit bad!)
It was then I noticed a couple kissing.. I mean really kissing. I stood there.. watching. (I’m sure no one noticed) Except maybe the girl who was kissing… she took her hand down from around his neck and pointed straight up. Mistletoe! (Ahhhh… AHHHHH! That meant I’d probably be kissing Sean. OMG! I’d never kissed a boy for real. My little brothers and my grandpa don’t count.) Here they are kissing like this right in front of everyone. GULP. To remedy this new stress in my life.. I walked over to the snack table and picked up a handful of pretzels. I needed time to ponder this new development. I briefly wondered about the house parties my parents went to.. my dad dressed in a suit and my mom in a cocktail dress… standing by the snack table and kissing under the mistletoe. Somehow, I just didn’t see my parents as the kissing type. Sean brought me back from my thoughtful panic when he handed me a glass of soda. Pretzels can be soo dry in your mouth. He took my free hand and lead me over to a group of his friends. I remembered Pete from the roller skating rink and his girlfriend Cheri. (She had a hickey on her neck. She always had hickies. ALWAYS.)
That’s when someone announced the Kissing Contest. Everyone eagerly gathered around the Mistletoe hanging above the center of the couch. I stood there and gulped down the rest of my soda.. then meandered nonchalantly over toward the couch. Sean was smiling from ear to ear.. I felt like I might throw up.. or burp. (I finished the whole glass of soda.) Couples were lining up to be first for the contest. Sean grasped my hand and pulled me up toward the center of the group. (Now, in all honestly, I’d been hoping for that tender little good night kiss at the front door when he took me home….. I had not expected a kissing game.) The first couple under the mistletoe.. kissed like crazy.. and someone was timing them! (Apparently that’s the contest… the longest kiss. Hmmm.) Much to my dismay as soon as the first couple unlocked lips, Sean bolted.. to the mistletoe, pulling me behind him. (You know on the Animal House movies.. when the guys is guzzling beer and everyone around him is chanting “drink, drink, drink” …well….)
Sean put his arms around me.. and looked up. He wanted to make sure we were directly under the mistletoe. We were. He looked into my eyes.. I was looking at his lips. Then we locked lips. Literally. I heard the timer click… and game on! My very first real kiss was totally emotionless. Totally public. Totally won that game! Whoo Hoo! (Two weeks later, Sean told me I was the ‘woman’ he’d love forever. I broke up with him the next day. I was not yet a ‘woman’ and I knew it. But I loved kissing and I do have to credit this young man with the blue eyes and red wavy hair for that. Thanks Sean.)
Late in the afternoon I arrived at Goose’s house. The dogs met me at my car with Happy New Year’s wishes, licks and wags. I lugged in my bags and some holiday treats that we can take to the party tonight. As I unpacked and hung my clothes in the closet, Goose called that he was running behind at work and would I be able to meet him. He gave me directions to a parking lot in a small town about 2o miles away. He’d meet me there and we would then drive the rest of the way to the party together. As I changed into my sexy clothes and did my make up, my excitement about the evening began to grow. That and I haven’t seen Goose since Christmas morning. One last glance in the mirror and I grabbed my coat.
As I pulled away from Goose’s driveway, it began to snow. Not the ‘sparkly soft falling’ kind of snowflakes inside the snow globe. More like ‘the wind is at your back, splash on your windshield’ kind of snowflakes. I turned on the windshield wipers and focused on the dark curvy roads ahead of me. The driving got a little easier once I reached the highway. It wasn’t long before I reached the exit ramp and the parking lot Goose had described. I pulled into a parking place and waited. Lots of people are on the road in this little town, scurrying to their New Year’s Eve activities. The parking lot is nearly empty though except for me and the accumulating snowflakes blanketing the pavement. My cell phone ringing startled the quiet sound of the falling snow. Goose chuckles as he anticipates discontent on my part for having to wait for him. He pulls into the parking lot next to my car. What a silly guy!
After a hug and a quick kiss, we’re off to the party. Goose explains that the house we’re headed to is an impromptu party being put on by a friend of his. The guys’ wife has gone out-of-town and he is taking advantage of the time to himself and having friends over to ring in the New Year. The various scenes I’ve played in my mind during the past couple of days of decorations, party hats, hors’dovres, and confetti have been replaced with visions of a keg of beer and popcorn. I believe I might possibly be over dressed.
My visions were correct. The ones of beer and popcorn that is. Except there’s no popcorn. The party is being held in the garage, with folding tables and chairs. Crock pots filled with a various hot dishes, and chips laid out in the bags they come in and little plastic tubs of dip. There’s beer. Lots of beer. The attire for the evening seems to be sweatshirts, jackets and jeans. I am indeed overdressed… but I kept my coat on, so no one knew the extent of my overshot. Goose found one empty chair and sat me near a table where there’s a card game going on. It’s hard to tell what game it is because the table is cluttered with ashtrays and beer cans. There isn’t any mistletoe in sight, but there is a cloud of cigarette smoke hovering above the table. Goose knows everyone here and introduces me to the people at this table. I can see his son and daughter in law at the far table engaged in a rousing card game.
Goose and I left the party before midnight. He took me back to the parking lot and waited as I warmed up my car to follow him back to his house. At midnight on this New Year’s Eve, I am alone in my car, following Goose over wet snowy back roads. He avoids the highways whenever possible. He’s lived in this area his entire life so he knows these back roads as well as the veins that run through his body.
I had expectations for New Year’s Eve. They had not come to be. But New Year’s Eve still arrived.. the ball dropped and a New Year is about to begin. Just like these back roads I’m driving.. I have no idea where they go… but I’m willing to follow them where ever they lead me.
Enjoy your New Year’s celebrations without expectation.
Give thanks for all of the lessons learned.
Love the people who choose to be in your life.
Let go of the ones who don’t.
Never Give Up.
Participate fully in the life you’ve been given.
Don’t let your life pass you by while you wait for someone or something to happen.
This is your life.
You’re steering the wheel.
My love, blessings and peace to you all! Happy New Year!