This is a story about New Years Eve and how and why I do it this way. It occurred to me years ago that my family here in the RP had a tradition celebrating the New Year that went back to when my wife Mayang was a kid. It had never changed until I entered the picture after we were married. I’ll explain later.
My history with the New Years revelry dated back to the early sixties prior to joining the Navy. My friends would have a party and they never went off well, because of puking and drama and then more drama and more puking. Teenagers can never get it right, and the parties were always a bust.
After joining the Navy it was not much different with the exception that the drinking part was now legal. But again the puking and drama prevailed. I thought about it and tried to figure out why that was. Regular parties seemed to come together just fine, and the reason for the party didn’t seem to matter. Then it dawned on me, it’s the ultimate amateur night. People who never attended the regular parties during the year all came out on New Year’s Eve. So if that was going to be the case, then I wouldn’t.
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Over the years I’d be talked into joining in on the festivities and each time was disappointing. Only on New Year’s Eve would this happen, like the time my friend on the USS Alstead (AF-48) invited me to a party in Detroit with promises of a grand time, and oh we had to take my car. We drove from Norfolk VA to Detroit MI and halfway there the snow started to fall, my 1962 Chevy Belair was not used to snow, and was ill-equipped to deal with it.
So we arrived in Detroit late in the day on December 31, 1967. I then found out that my shipmate Barney had no real plan for the evening, and didn’t know where any parties were. I won’t go into vast detail about the night let it suffice that it was a total bust. But because of the freezing temperatures my engine blew out a couple of piston rings and was burning oil at an alarming rate. So bad that I was stopped on the Pennsylvania Turnpike because I was turning the snow black, the trooper told me I could proceed no further. When I asked if I sign the title over to him or the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, he decided to let us continue to our ship. The entire trip we’d stop for oil and check the gas, most places gave me used oil for free.
So now I’m back in Virginia, its 1968 and I am so mad I could push my car over the pier into Chesapeake Bay. There were more disappointing New Years, so I swore them off. I’ll have a drink with you on Tuesday morning for no damn reason, but on New Year’s, leave me alone. But I did forgive my car and had the engine rebuilt, plus Detroit was check off on my bucket list.
Dateline: The Philippines; on our first New Years after we are married, Mayang wants to go to her parent’s house for the party. The party was boring; no one was having fun, although my father-in-law did set his grass roof on his house aflame with his Roman candles that he set off to close to the house.
That’s when it struck me over the head and awoke me to the fact; I’m jinxed, just like that kid on Peanuts with the cloud over his head. Give it up Paul; it’s just not to be.
Also I noted that Mayang plus the family were spending too much time worrying about if I was having a good time so much that my wife and family never got to relax and really enjoy themselves. As I said, this has happened at no other party, just that damnable New Years Eve.
So for the last twenty years on New Year’s Eve my wife goes to her Mother’s house and I stay home and watch the house with hoses laid out ready to put out stray fireworks that land on my roof. Mayang and her siblings have a great time and she comes home the next morning, after having her night to howl.
Oh, cocktails Tuesday under the mango tree, be there!