New Year's Eve

For those who read yesterday’s journal entry, the rest of the story is that our luggage was delivered in the middle of the night, arriving at 2:30 am, so the bags that traveled on a different airplane than we did turned out to not be a problem at all. We went to sleep, and we had our luggage in the morning.

When we moved from a small town in southwest North Dakota to Boise, Idaho, I was surprised that there were a few people in our neighborhood who would shoot off fireworks to celebrate New Year’s Eve. We had associated fireworks with the celebration of Independence Day in July, but hadn’t lived where it was a part of New Year’s Eve celebrations. Of course fireworks on New Year’s Eve are a big part of celebrations in many parts of the world. I’m aware of that now and I enjoy watching the displays from several places around the world on my computer on New Year’s Day. In those days, I did know that fireworks were part of the celebration of the Chinese New Year and I assumed that perhaps the fireworks we observed in our neighborhood were being used by Chinese-American folk. There are Chinese communities in many places around the West. The building of the US railroad system was heavily dependent upon the importing of workers from China. Even though those workers, their children, and grandchildren experienced severe racism and oppression, many remained. Boise has a small Chinese section in its city cemetery and there were descendants of those who had immigrated in the 19th century in the city. I suspect, now, that my assumptions about those of Chinese descent being responsible for the use of fireworks, was not correct. At any rate, it was a small number of people.

As the years passed and we moved to other places, we continued to notice fireworks on New Year’s Eve, with the amount of fireworks increasing each year. Last year, in our new home in Birch Bay, there were quite a few neighbors who used fireworks as part of their observance of the coming of the new year.

Where we are in South Carolina, however, promises to take that practice to a new level. There are open fireworks stands on many corners around the town. If the number of places that are selling fireworks is an indication, fireworks at New Year’s is a big deal around here. I guess we’ll see this evening.

We have always noted New Years with muted celebrations. We aren’t much for big, wild parties in the first place and New Years has been a time to enjoy our family more than a time for social gatherings for us. After the busy days of Christmas in the church, there is a more relaxed time after Christmas Day and we have often traveled to spend time with our extended family after Christmas. When our children were in school, we looked forward to the Christmas break and additional time to enjoy one another.

Last night we had a wonderful time touring a local park that has extensive lights for Christmas. Tonight will be the last night for that park’s display. I’m glad that our daughter’s family waited until we came to visit to tour the lights. They were spectacular. The park is large and there are many pools and ponds in the park that provided reflections for the displays. There were lots of colored lights and some of the displays had well-timed displays that changed color and made it look like there was motion.

The lights reminded us of a Rapid City tradition that we have enjoyed many times. In Rapid City volunteers string thousands and thousands of lights around a children’s storybook park. The displays are all lit up and the walk through the park is really enjoyable and part of the observance of the holiday. As far as we know, there isn’t a similar display near where we now live. It would be fun for us to tour such lights with our Washington grandchildren, but we haven’t yet found a place for that activity.

It makes sense to have displays of light as part of winter celebrations. Although I suspect that many of the fireworks this evening will be used near midnight, it certainly would be easy to have a family fireworks display as soon as it gets dark. Since it gets dark earlier in the winter than in the summer, little ones might not have to wait up so late to see the bright lights.

We do notice, however, that we’ve come down south, where the days are longer in the winter. It doesn’t get dark so early here. I’m sure that there is more than an hour of additional daylight here compared to our northern home. Of course, we are not fully adjusted to the change in time zones, so we are less aware of what time it is than usual. We do think, however, that sitting down to dinner when it is still light outside is a big change from our usual winter schedule. It got dark during our dinner and we were able to go out and enjoy the lights in the park shortly after dinner before the three-year-old’s bedtime.

I’m not expecting any wild parties for our celebrations this evening. We’ll be happy to watch a bowl game on television and enjoy family time celebrating the holiday season in general.

In 2000, when there were people around the world wondering how big a problem would be caused by the Y2k computer programming error, I checked out the New Year’s Eve fireworks in Sydney, Australia on the Internet. I figured that even though it was many hours earlier where we were living, I’d get some warning if there were Y2k problems in other places. It turned out that there were no big issues, but I did start a tradition for myself of checking out what is going on around the world on New Year’s Eve. I’ll probably do something similar today as well.

Of course, I also will be working on making changes to my web site in preparation for the new year. For those who are regular readers of my journal, this will be the last entry for 2022. Tomorrow there will be a new page on my website for the 2023 journal. If you read regularly and use a bookmark to find my journal, you’ll need to set a new bookmark to view my 2023 journal entries. Here is a link to that page. It doesn’t have anything on it today, but will have my journal entires starting tomorrow. Happy New Year to all!

Made in RapidWeaver