2011 is history. 2012 is here. There are only 352 days until Christmas and 358 (at this writing) days until another New Year’s Eve celebration. All those delightful events and fun celebrations that we did over the holidays with our family and special friends will be forever fondly etched in our memories. Almost equally celebrative with Christmas is delighting in some way the passing of the old year and greeting the New Year as it makes its exciting debut; it is that momentous time when we want to make merry in an extraordinary way with those unique people in those exclusive places that exhilarate the rite of passage with us. Passing from the old to the new can be both a sad and a very delightful time.
Across the years, B. J. and I and our family have celebrated the ceremonial in multitudinous ways. We have celebrated with fireworks, by firing volleys of shotgun blasts into the air, Watch Night services at church, singing the old year out and the New Year in, praying the old year out and the New Year in and just sitting up and watching the ball fall in Times Square. Ad infinitum.
In one of our churches we had a family, the Stone family from Graham, which always celebrated the occasion by spending the night on the Altamaha River. They had a cabin there and the family would invite B. J. and me to join them. Actually, the “cabin” was a two-story house that would accommodate about thirty-five celebrating people. On New Year’s Eve there would always be a big fish fry using fish caught from the river and a nearby lake that joined the river. There was always a lot of gleeful camaraderie at the Stone family fish fry on the river on New Year’s Eve as we waited to watch the ball fall.
One New Year’s Eve about an hour before midnight, Jimmy Stone said to me, “Come on preacher, let’s go fishing!”
Always ready for a new adventure, I quickly replied, “Okay, let’s go.”
So we followed the path, lighted by outside lights, to the edge of the lake, untied the boat, pushed away from shore, and pretty soon we were way out in the lake fishing for catfish. We disturbed a family of beavers and they surrounded us striking the water with their tails and making loud noises. Jimmy remarked, “Well, we’ve got some noise makers to help us celebrate the New Year.”
There in the lake near the Altamaha, Jimmy Stone and I fished the old year out and the New Year in.
This year, Dave and Gail Eason, our long-time friends and traveling companions from Lake Mayers near Baxley, Ga. joined us for the New Year’s weekend celebration at our house on St. Simons Island. Gail, a former home economics teacher, is a Master Cake Baker, designer and decorator. For our New Year’s Eve party, she contributed a charming cheesecake; her own superior tasty creation.
I always have some custom-cut T-Bone steaks in the freezer just for exceptional circumstances so I retrieved and thawed them, marinated them and readied them for the grill.
While the steaks cooked and the flavorsome fragrance saturated the community, Dave and I cut up and carried on around the charcoal cooker. Inside, B. J. and Gail made salad, baked potatoes and readied corn-on-the-cob in the oven while carrying on some lighted-hearted merriment. New Year’s Eve at our island home would be fundelicious!
Soon, the big T-Bones were ready. Yum yum, did they ever have a savory aroma. In no time, we were happily digging and slicing into the fixings. We thoroughly enjoyed our sumptuous New Year’s Eve repast along with a lot of happy fellowship.
After dinner, we continued the great companionship recalling some of our experiences traveling on the road and in the air. We especially recalled our “dip” in the Dead Sea in Israel.
On New Year’s Day, the fun continued with a delightful breakfast and the traditional New Year’s Day fare—black eye peas, collard greens and ham.
We joyfully celebrated another rite of passage from the old year to the New Year with cherished friends who helped make it a memorable occasion.
WISHING TO ALL MY READERS A “HAPPY NEW YEAR”! MAY GOD RICHLY BLESS YOU IN 2012.