Thursday, December 27, 2012
The Preacher’s Corner
However you are privileged to spend it – Happy New Year
Most children are fascinated, I think, by the idea of staying up till midnight on New Year’s Eve — children with enforced bedtimes, at least. I certainly had to go to bed at a certain time. Bedtimes for children are wonderful because they buy parents some peace and quiet.
I cannot tell you what my bedtime was, but I do remember listening to “What’s My Line,” lying in bed, while my parents enjoyed the show in the living room. If you remember that program, it means you are as old as I am. It dates us a good bit.
My early New Year’s Eves were spent at home, and I am quite sure I did not make it to midnight. To say that my parents were not revelers is an understatement. I am quite sure that all went to bed at their usual hours.
When I was about 5 or 6, we spent a New Year holiday with my Memphis grandparents. Mama and Daddy went dancing at the Skyway in the Peabody Hotel with several couples who had been in their wedding.
The men had all been friends of Daddy’s in his young adult years in Memphis, and this was a chance to re-live their courting days. If you or your parents went courting at the Peabody Skyway that also means you are as old, or older, than I am.
This occasion was special for me because my very indulgent Memphis grandparents promised that I could stay up till midnight if I wished.
This promise, however, did not mean that they would stay up. Grandmother and Granddaddy went to bed even earlier than my Cleveland, Miss., family. They and my three aunts who lived with them, retired at their usual hours, leaving me with some snacks one of my aunts had thoughtfully prepared.
I watched TV for awhile, but there wasn’t anything on of interest to a little kid. Remember, there were only three channels then.
After a while I turned off the TV and played with some toys I had brought, but very quickly that big, old house got very quiet.
I was sure that I heard the clicking of Grandmother’s dog Lady’s claws on the wooden stairway. Lady had died sometime before. It wasn’t much of a celebration, but I was determined.
Being an only child had certain advantages, but this was not one of the times I felt them.
I do not remember if I actually saw the arrival of midnight. When my parents came in from their big night out, they found me sound asleep in Granddaddy’s big rocking chair and took me, sleeping, upstairs to bed.
Later, when I lived in Chicago, our church would have a big midnight service on New Year’s Eve. All sorts of people would come. Some even came in from Rush Street, which was Chicago’s red-light district.
Today I am content to watch on TV as the ball drops on Times Square. The Bible says of God that “Our times are in thy hand.” That’s comfort for me. Meanwhile, I hope you have a good New Year holiday, however you are privileged to spend it.
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