Saturday, December 31, 2011
Auld Lang Syne - Times Gone By
New Years is a time for celebration, fresh starts, and an opportunity to remember cherished memories thus as this year winds down I find myself reflecting upon New Years Eves spent with Erin. Daylight gives way to darkness and we wander over to a friends house for the traditional neighborhood party; this is an event we attended for most of Erin's life and one most looked forward to for many reasons. Friends, family, and strangers alike gather to usher in another year but before that time comes there is much socializing to be done; Erin hovers near me as greetings and introductions are made and as the only dog she reaps the benefits of constant attention. Folks are huddled around a blazing fire pit upon which bushels of oysters are being steamed while the garage has been transformed into a place to graze upon an endless array of goodies. The garage is doggie heaven as ham, turkey, chicken nuggets, cheeses, breads, cookies, cakes, and other tantalizing foods sit unattended; Erin sniffs the air while ogling the tables. "Don't you even think about it" and with that her attention is directed elsewhere. When I believe no one is looking tasty morsels are tossed into the air which she snags with little effort and later when we're all alone she totally has her fill :)
Fireworks erupt overhead in a multitude of colors and patterns then the sky goes dark before another round of pyrotechnics fills the air. Whistles and screeches ring out without warning as streaks of light race across the sky before vanishing in a blink of the eye while others emit radiating heat on the ground before exploding with a startling bang. Boxes and boxes of fireworks are ignited and it's a joy for all to witness except for Erin whom is not nearly as impressed as by the abundance of food. We lie together on the ground to watch the aerial display before moving on to something more stimulating to a dog's senses and that came in the form of children...Kids of all ages show interest and entice her to play which she does without hesitation. I observe youngsters running around the dimly lighted backyard with Erin in pursuit before stopping to engage in a round of dog and child talk. Balls and sticks are thrown but she refuses to play fetch despite their passionate pleas; I keep watch over her for safety's sake and periodically she checks in with me before rejoining the fun. Impromptu games of kickball occur while Erin acts as a cheerleader for all who participate.
Playtime continues until I'm discovered eating then the kids are forced to entertain themselves. A mountain of steamed oysters lie on makeshift tables and folks crowd around to get their share; armed with a shucker I began the tedious task of cracking them open. Erin's intent stare bores a hole through me as she tries to get my attention but playfully she's ignored even as my leg is nudged then a paw touches my arm; I smirk and pretend to not notice her though a beaming smile and tail wag are clearly seen. Finally eye contact is made as an oyster is tossed onto the ground followed by another then another; a plastic bucket filled with discarded shells is evidence of our feast while Erin licks her lips in approval. With cup of coffee in hand I sit next to a roaring fire in an attempt to warm up; childhood friends fill me in on the details of the past year while inquiring about mine; inevitability Erin becomes a conversation topic and all are impressed as I sing her praises as a therapy dog, etc. Adolescent boys thrust marshmallows upon sticks into the fire while Erin takes it all in with a grin; she is offered one but as I suspected refuses to even consider it.
By the time midnight arrives we were usually sound asleep but that was quite alright as our bellies were full, hearts content, and bond strenghtened; these New Years Eve gatherings will always be remembered fondly as I brought in another year with my best friend. Happy New years to you and your loved ones!!