One crazy New Year’s Eve

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Youngsters always say they want to stay up until after midnight on New Years Eve. However, most of the time, by 10 o’clock, they’re sound asleep on the sofa. Don’t we all remember doing that back in the day? I know that I do.

Back in Philly during my teenage years, I often went to parties where hamburgers and soda were served, while we listened to the radio. As I grew older, I always enjoyed seeing Dick Clark do his thing on TV from New York City. It was always our dream to one day be there in person as that ball dropped down at midnight. I’m just as glad I never got to be there.

You can’t imagine how bone-chilling New York City is that time of the year.

My first husband Don and I would either have a party at our home with neighbors or go to their homes. We were always within walking distance of home, and the strongest thing served was some kind of sweet wine. After I married Van, my second husband in 1969, we always tried to be at home.

Sometimes when that wasn’t possible, we arranged to stay at friends overnight. There always seemed to be some idiot drunk killing himself and others on the road. Rather safe than sorry! It was this idea that had us set to take our dog Trinket, a bottle of whiskey and a tray of treats to a friend’s house on the other side of our home in Fresno. I’ll be polite and call them Jim and Mary.

Van met Jim at work and they became buddies, both loving camping and fishing. We’d gone with them to Wishon Lake and other places in the Sierra Mountains, experiencing wonderful weekends with them. But we hadn’t spent a lot of time socializing at home until one New Year’s Eve. We anticipated a great evening as we loaded our truck, Jim introduced us to their friends who seemed like nice people, all 20 of them.

That was until one of the men — already as they say two sheets to the wind at nine in the evening — said he was looking forward to seeing just how drunk everybody could get. It didn’t take long to realize just how the evening would be going. Mary was a great cook. I asked her what she was having for refreshments. She looked very surprised and answered “Peanuts.” I was glad I’d brought some appetizers.

It didn’t matter; by 10 p.m. that crowd was way past wanting food. While everybody else was in the living room except for Van, Trinket still in her little bed, and I. Van just looked at me, picked up Trinket — bed and all — and headed for the pick-up. Back he came and the two of us, refreshments and suitcase headed out of that door and home.

When we got there we saw the light was on in our neighbors home. Mildred and Owen were still up. We went over and asked if they’d like some company.. They were overjoyed. We spent the rest of the evening enjoying a couple of nice cocktails, all those nice cheesy treats I’d prepared, and great company as Dick Clark did his thing at midnight.

Preparing this column, my son Doug suggested I write working New Year’s Eve at the Blue Bell Inn restaurant. We recalled leaving our home at three in the afternoon and not seeing our front door until two or later the next morning. That holiday was always a grueling workday. However, it was the best night for tips of the year. Adding to all of this, we often had bad driving conditions of snow and sleet.

Here’s some other thoughts to end this column. My best wishes to my Bottom Road friend who just had surgery on her feet and will be sitting down in front of her TV for a good long time. Get well, my dear friend. Also, a special thank you again to our new friends who had us to dinner. I enjoyed seeing one of my crewel designs hanging in their living room.

As usual I talked too much after two glasses of bubbly, which I hope they’ll forgive. Hey, I’m 92 going on 21. Fortunately, I had my son Doug, the tea drinker, to drive me home. These friends will be having their family home for Christmas, which is wonderful. Happy New Year 2017 one and all, and God Bless you too!

Edna Van Leuven is a Churchill County writer and columnist. She may be reached at


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