New Year’s Past and Present.

Another year has come and gone and while some celebrated, many others said good riddance to one of the worst years that most of us have ever experienced. Between the Covid-19 virus and the ensuing lockdowns that are still occurring which has devastated economies around the world, well, there hasn’t been much to celebrate.

I was thinking of New Year’s past, and growing up in the late 50’s and early 60’s, and I recall some things that were traditions to us, but would seem quite odd to our culture today. Back then, we would watch and wait for the ball to drop up at Times Square on our Black and White T.V., we would then run outside with pots, pans and spoons and bang away till our arms got tired, or our parents would say, “alright, that’s enough, get to bed”.

As we got older we celebrated in different ways. My brother remembers spending a few New Year’s down at Bob Mather’s brothers house eating oysters and washing them down with some cold ‘Colt 45’ cans of beer. After we became of legal age, a few of us would celebrate New Year’s by making the rounds at many of the neighborhood saloons as they were allowed to stay open all night on New Year’s, and we made sure to make it an all-nighter, shaking hands, slapping each other on the back and then watching several of the neighborhood lads decide to test themselves with their fists, emboldened with their liquor induced courage.

This year was typical in that I didn’t even venture from the house and was home watching several episodes of ‘Dark Shadows’, (a gothic soap opera that was popular back during the late 60’s,) when the midnight hour arrived. Now that I think about it, I can also recall staying up late and watching ‘Ghost Host’ on Channel45 on New Year’s into the early morning hours. Ghost Host was known for showing B rated horror classics like ‘Bucket of Blood’, ‘Attack of the Killer Shrews’, ‘Ghost of Dragstrip Hollow’ and other spine tingling shows that would have you leaving the light on all night, well not really.

In any event, things are a little different today. One of the more popular activities for some Baltimore natives on New Year’s Eve is to go out and fire their guns up into the air, where the bullets fell, they know not where, between that and the nightly shootings in which several Baltimore natives will have seen their last New Year’s, it’s just not very appealing to venture out onto the streets of Baltimore on New Year’s in 2021. I guess all things in their place and time, and while I recall enjoying several New Year’s getting out and about, sitting on the couch at midnight sort of appeals to me at this time. Not quite an old dog in front of the fire, but not far from it.