As I hoped, it worked out! This is my 100th post. In memory of my dad.
And so as the huge Wedgewood Crystal Ball drops on New Year’s Eve, millions count down 10-9-8-…1, Happy New Year!; my family also, counts down to the New Year. It’s a tradition. I’m sure my brothers and sister still cannot celebrate a New Year’s Eve without thinking of its special significance. Our dad’s birthday. He would be 93, and if the truth be told although he didn’t celebrate 93 birthdays, his children continue to observe and remember his very special day.
We observed his birthday taking our places standing on top of a chair within a minute of the countdown. As we got to the final ten seconds we would shout out the numbers 10 through 1 and “jump into the New Year” shouting “Happy Birthday, Dad!” It was either a Dutch or our family tradition, I’m not sure.
All those years of counting down became prophetic. Dad’s job working for a company under contract with NASA saw us countdown Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Shuttle flights. In Florida, we walked outside with our classmates to watch the latest launch counting down. In the television coverage we heard the countdown and then a voice pronounce, “Ignition, liftoff.”
As we come to another New Year, the coming of 2012, we will “launch” another one perched on chairs seconds before the crystal ball drops in Times Square. From our chair tops having imbibed some of dad’s mulled wine we will “jump into the New Year.” Ignition. Lift off. No, we won’t be soaring into the sky, but we will plant our feet squarely on the ground and think of him.
Dad’s Mulled Wine
1 bottle Merlot
1/2 cup of brandy (if you have some on hand)
2/3 cups sugar
2 or 3 cinnamon sticks
a bottle of cloves
Dad spent New Year’s afternoon preparing his orange. He stuck cloves outlining the last two digits of the old year on one side of the orange and the last two digits of the new year on the other side. For example, -11 one one side, -12 on the other side. Early in the evening he poured the red wine + brandy into a pan and dissolved the sugar over a lo heat. Once the sugar was dissolved in the wine, he placed the orange with cloves along with the cinnamon sticks in with the warming mixture.