The ghost of New Year's Past
I didn't know what I was going to post about tonight. I've been neglecting this blog shamelessly lately because with the holidays, nothing interesting has happened to me that I can talk about if I'm to honor my family's request for privacy. I found my inspiration at Stone Soup where my friend Kathy has a nice post up about her New Year's Eve. She spent it at a VFW party and it reminded me of one of my nicest celebrations.
I was a bartender for a two or three years and my first job was a VFW bar. Odd place for a leftie like me to get a job, especially since I had no experience. I pulled some major strings to get the gig. But I became a great bartender and fit myself in with that crowd despite my politics and my lifestyle. The first New Year's Eve I ever saw sober as an adult was in that place.
I worked the Lounge that year and it was quiet. There was just a few of the oldest guys who either didn't have the money or didn't want to go to the big party in the Hall. Occassionally a few partygoers came out to avoid the lines inside. But when midnight came, it was me and about five old vets. I'd guess the average age was about 75 and I know one guy was in his 80s. I walked around the outside of the horseshoe bar and kissed every one of them.
I snagged a bottle of champagne from the party and made a big show of it. The old guys were simultaneously slightly flustered and extremely pleased. By the time I got to Al, he was ready and gave me a big smacker. It left a warm and festive feeling between our little group that lasted even after the party guests started spilling out into the Lounge. It was the start of very good year for me.