For Auld Lang Syne

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Should auld acquaintance be forgot

And never brought to mind?

Should auld acquaintance be forgot

And days of auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my dear

For auld lang syne

We’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet

For days of auld lang syne

                  —-Robert Burns

At the stroke of midnight we said goodbye to 2020 and celebrated the possibilities of our new year of 2021. We had little idea as we followed our rituals last January 1, what challenges we would face in the coming months. I spent December 31, 2019, dining at Nino’s Italian restaurant with my husband, a tradition we have followed for many years. We lifted a toast to Mike’s old boss, Claude Andler who had introduced us the the place many years before. We talked of Pat and Bill Weimer with whom we had celebrated New Year’s Eve for decades. We spoke to the owner of the eatery who was in a festive mood as the tables filled with happy people looking forward to the future. We did not know then that our host for that evening would become a victim of Covid-19. We had no idea how much the world would soon change.

Later that evening we attended a party in the home of neighbors who had only recently moved to Texas from Long Island. It was a celebration of the decades with music from all the way back in the fifties. At the stroke of midnight we hugged and kissed and delighted in our good fortune and the promise of the days ahead. 

We went to mass at Mary Queen Catholic Church where we joyfully distributed communion to our fellow parishioners and praised God for His goodness. We continued our celebration with a lunch with my eldest daughter, Maryellen, and her family enjoying steaming bowls of of split pea soup, a tradition handed down to my mother-in-law from her mother and grandmother who had once lived in northern England just a stone’s throw from Scotland where Bobby Burns had written his iconic poem of old times with good friends. 

According to Mike his grandmother always became emotional whenever she heard Auld Lang Syne because when she was leaving her homeland for America as a child there was a band playing the tune in farewell. From that day forward the ditty reminded her of people and places that she would never again see, memories both beautiful and reminders of loss. 

I suppose that this New Year’s Day is very different for each of us from what it has traditionally been in the past. Hardly a person on this earth has not lost someone special this year or even witnessed a change of lifestyle brought on by the challenges of illness and economic chaos. We miss our rituals and the people with whom we usually enjoy them. Like Mike’s grandmother we look forward to new promises while grieving for the past and the people who were part of them. We know not what the coming days and weeks will bring but we lift a cup of cheer for old times’ sake in the hopes that surely things will somehow get better. 

My wish for everyone is that we move forward with optimism and kindness as we begin 2021. Let’s work together to make it one heck of a wonderful year regardless of the obstacles we may encounter. 

Happy New Year, 2021! May it be a time to heal, rebuild and come back together with kindness and love.