December 31, 2015: Out with the Old; In with the New

It’s the end of the year and in a few hours, the New Year will begin with new opportunities for all.

For us, the day was spent putting Solstice away and having our traditional meal of black-eyed peas with cornbread for our end of year supper. This year we used blue cornmeal instead of yellow cornmeal and it was simply delicious. Blue cornmeal is difficult to find in the Puget Sound area and we were quite happy when we finally found some in one of the grocery stores this week.

New Year's Eve 2015

New Year’s Eve 2015

This year we decided to have a tree lit with candles. This is not our first time we’ve had a tree with candles and it was exciting to do so again. Our first Christmas tree after we were married in 1977 was lit by candles. The tree had a magic to it then and again this evening.  In 1977 our tree was inside fully laden with decorations and gifts; this evening the tree was on our porch decorated only with the candles.

You don’t see Christmas trees lit with candles much in the United States – when you do, it’ simply beautiful.  Yes, there is an element of danger using candles on a pine tree but if you use the right candle holders (get the European candle holders) and be vigilant while the candles are burning, then you’ll be treated to a magic moment that will be with you a long time.

A single wax candle one of our original candle holders.

A single wax candle one of our original candle holders.

Though our tree this year was much smaller than our tree in our Zehlendorf apartment in West Berlin in 1977, there’s a connection, and a history, between these two trees.  The candle holders we used in 1977 were used again tonight.  The tree is held up in a German sled we bought on our first day after we arrived in Bad Toelz in 1983.  It was the week day before Thanksgiving and when we went to the small PX on Flint Kaserne, we saw the sleds and brought two at $9.00 apiece.  Those sleds saw many happy times in Bad Toelz.  We would walk up to the top of a hill not far away from our apartment, put our two children on the sleds and down they went.  They loved sledding down the hill and wanted to do so all day.  After three or four times pulling the sleds up the hill it dawned on us that Monty, our Samoyed from Monterey, could pull the sleds for us.  We came up with a way to hook both sleds to Monty and off we went.  At first he wasn’t quite sure of what was expected of him but then, it quickly became a game and from then on, he never tired of pulling those two sleds up the hill for the next hour or two.  Once at the top of the hill he would race the kids as they zoomed down the hill.   It was a fun time for all.

I’m looking forward to the New Year for the opportunities it brings, the chance to coming closer to my wife and family, continue my inner journey, and embracing each day as it arrives.

I wish each and every one a Happy New Year.  May all your dreams, hopes, and aspirations come true.



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