By Wally DuChateau
They don’t celebrate New Year’s like they used to. At one time, it was the biggest full-scale, drunken debauchery of the entire year.
When I was a little kid, numerous small-farm families in the region would gather at local granges each December 31st evening. With the exception of the Veazie grange (later the Moose Hall) none of these places officially served any booze, but there was plenty of it available in the parking lots, including some home-brewed white lightening. As the midnight hour approached, the various scenes neared complete pandemonium. There were horns, ratchet noise makers, confetti, crepe-paper streamers and a rousing rendition of “Auld Lang Syne” by hometown musicians. Men would jump up and down, scream and bellow, and kiss every woman within arm’s length. The buildings themselves seemed to tremble from all the commotion.
In later years, I attended massive parties in the streets and clubs of urban centers. I spent a couple New Year’s Eves merrily stumbling through the drunken crowd on Bourbon Street in New Orleans but, contrary to what you might expect, even that uninhibited free-for-all wasn’t as wild as the Osceola Grange, despite those few braless ladies who would debonairly lift their T-shirts.
I’ve celebrated three New Year’s in some pretty elegant, big-city hotel ballrooms, where some semi-famous big bands offered the music. Such occasions can be lovely. They’re usually quite sedate, more romantic, comparatively expensive and often reserved for couples – therefore, how memorable the evenings might be depend, to a large extent, on who you’re with.
I’ve spent the last several New Year’s in downtown Enumclaw and been disappointed. Nothing much goes on there, though Seeders can get a little excited. I understand the Yella Beak and the Crystal are also a bit more spirited.
Whatever you’re plans for tomorrow night, I hope they unfurl with all the exhilaration and warmth you anticipate, even if you only snuggle on the couch with a loved one and watch the ball descend in Times Square.
Once again, let me offer my annual apologies to anyone I may have offended during 2009. Allowing some artistic license for the sake of humor, I’ve tried to keep my historical frats and anecdotes relatively accurate.
The dawning of a new year is always worth a toast or two. Or three. So, with this in mind, let me extend my warmest seasonal wishes again. May the coming year bring you and yours peace and prosperity and may all your wildest dreams come true. Happy New Year, everyone!
P.S. Let me know if you find work.