Last night for the second time in my life I was at a New Year’s Eve gathering. Most years I went home to be with Bill and Mary for midnight. I remember us gathering there and – many years back, Junior O’Beirne arriving to help my father ring in the new year by hitting a gas cylinder (empty of course!!) with a sledge hammer. It was amazing how much noise that made. For years afterwards Junior, God be good to him, used ring our house just after midnight to wish Bill, Mary and all of us a Happy New Year. Like many things that came to an end but the gathering continued. I’d call before midnight and wait into the New Year before heading back to the parish.
One year I remember missing was when I attended the Rooskey New Year’s Eve Gig in Kennedy’s Lounge, Doocastle. The “Rooskeys” made a point of celebrating that night and I didn’t know that the first year I was in the parish but someone told me for the second year. I went over, intending to spend a while and leave to be with Bill and Mary for midnight. As it turned out, the band booked for the night, didn’t turn up and I, with another talented (:)) local ended up counting in the New Year and singing. I can’t remember much of what I sang but I remember a very rousing version of “Things” he sang. Mostly because he didn’t know the words and would just shout “Things” and the filling in of the words was done by the Rooskeys “like a walk in the park” … “like a kiss in the dark” …. It was a good night.
Last night I went to Castlebar to see Imelda May in Concert. Excellent show and what an entertainer! Powerful and lovely. Packed house. first class entertainment and professional to the last. She sang, among many powerful songs, “Kentish Town Waltz” the first song of her’s I heard back in August and have listened to many times since. Lovely idea of sticking together, even if times are difficult. Lovely to hear and see it sung live. Brilliant band and a very enjoyable occasion.
I went alone and was alone at midnight. The Royal Theatre was packed to capacity, Imelda counted in 2012 and sang “Shall auld acquaintance” and I enjoyed it but I was alone! Not sad, not down in my shoes but alone. The night in Kennedy’s and the countless nights in Moygara were different because I was standing with people I knew, people who knew me and we wanted to stand together. That’s what New Year’s Eve is about. It’s about an awareness of the people you want to stand with you and with whom you want and need to stand. It’s a real moment of reflection.
I’m thrilled I was in Castlebar and enjoyed it so much and am thankful to Imelda and her Band for sharing such a wonderful talent but Kennedy’s was a fuller experience of belonging – so too Moygara. We bring to the midnight hour of December 31st, the people that matter. What I’m saying is we need to be so SO thankful for the people we want to be with and who want to be with us.
Earlier this week I received a text from a priest friend. I’m assuming he received it from someone else (not that I doubt his originality). I shared it today at Mass as my “homily” for New Year’s Day. I believe it has a powerful message.
The text read: “”The fire you kindle for your enemy often burns yourself more than him. May you have the courage in 2012 to put out lots of fires and I pray that you will not get burned”.
Happy New Year!! God Bless now and always.