My mom called me on the phone today, asking about the grocery bag she left at our house on Christmas Day. She wondered if we might stop by tomorrow sometime for crackers and cheese (and oh, by the way, drop off the grocery bag).
I asked her about the Annual New Years' Eve Party they always go to. One of their friends is going to pick them up so they can go tonight.
They have been getting together with the same group of couples for New Years' Eve for around 50 years. They were all member of the same Young Couples Group, called the "Merry Mates", back in the 1950s.
It was a church thing.
Back then, they didn't just have New Years' Eve parties, of course. They got together throughout the year at various times. Some of their get-togethers were just for adults, and some included the whole family. I especially enjoyed the Christmas parties where all of the kids went caroling together. We also went camping with some of the families.
Now they all go to different churches. They don't see each other so very often, although they are still especially good friends with three of the couples.
But they still get together every New Year's Eve.
It's a pretty low-key party: games, food, maybe one glass of champagne at midnight. But they always have someplace to go, and someone to be with on New Year's Eve.
I find myself envying that. I envy the sense of tradition; I would like to have a place to go every New Year's Eve. And low key would really work for me.
But most of all, I envy the friendship. They have friends that they have travelled together with for over 50 years. That's something, in this day and age.
And I can't help thinking that it lends some perspective to ushering out the old year and ushering in the new one.
At the grocery store this morning, my check out person (who knows I am a pastor), asked if we had anything special for the youth on New Year's Eve. I had to admit that we do not, although I think it's a fine idea.
She went on to reminisce about her experiences as a young person. They spent all evening in the church. There was worship and a party and worship again, for all ages. The next day the youth went sledding. I had to admit, it sounded pretty fun to me too.
We are going out to eat this year, just the two of us, and then watching movies at home. Maybe we'll get a party hat for Scout, too.
So, what are you doing? Do you have special plans or traditions?