December 26, 2012

Past New Year's bring back fond memories

By SUSAN TOBIAS, Pinch of Time

---- — Here we are, again, just a few days away from the end of 2012. How did that happen so fast?

Oh, how quietly those days have slipped by — some happy, some sad. We get busy in our own little worlds, like ants running around, carrying things from one place to another, whether they be objects or concerns.

These are serious times, but people who came before us have had their own serious moments in history— global and personal. People cope in different ways. They are comforted by different methods.

My first coping technique is prayer because I believe in a God who is all powerful and greater than me. My second method is my memories — of my youth, growing up in the country with wonderful parents and siblings.

I’m one of those people who tends to remember the good and forget the bad. You will seldom hear me talking about hard times, unless they lead to a happy ending. 

Many New Year’s Eve celebrations throughout my childhood come to mind. Jan. 1 held surprises and good food, too. 

Often Mum and Dad celebrated the new year with friends — sometimes at their homes, sometimes at a nearby tavern. We’d wake up looking forward to the souvenirs they brought home for us kids.

My favorite was the blowy things that whistled and flew out straight in front of your face. Not sure what they were called, but it wasn’t long before Mum and Dad said, “Quiet!” or “Take that thing outside!”

How about the metal noisemakers that clackity-clacked when spun around in the air, and the hats — some so pretty they ended up on my bedroom wall as decorations.

New Year’s Day was celebrated with a big noontime meal. My English mother would cook a delicious roast-beef dinner with halved potatoes roasted in the oven. (I’m sure that’s where I learned to love potatoes, roasted or otherwise.) Mum’s thick, beefy gravy topped off everything and leaves a memory that I can almost taste even today.

We ate, and the rest of our day was spent resting, playing games and watching television. Then, perhaps, the neighbors would drop by to say “Happy New Year.” 

Life was just as uncertain then, in the 1950s, but we had just come out of a World War, and everybody was happy to be alive. It was a relatively good time to live. A lot is said about how good life was in that era, but there were people also grieving the loss of loved ones during the war and knew all too well how precious life really is.

We go on, day by day, minute by minute. Every time that second hand on the clock moves, that’s a second that will never come again.

As they say, when something ends, something else begins. This is true of the “old” 2012 and “the new” 2013. As this year becomes history, a new, unscathed canvas named 2013 is before us.

What will your canvas look like a year from now? Take one day at a time, and make the most of it, doing good wherever you can.

While soap operas are not something I indulge in, there is one called “Days of our Lives.” Its theme is “Like sand through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.” No truer words have ever been spoken.

Time waits for no one. We have only this moment, nothing more. I am not so naïve to think that there is no pain, grief or heartache, but be encouraged and look for a new beginning.

Cheers to you and yours from our family for a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.

One last thought, as always, please be kind to each other. The world needs more kindness.

Susan Tobias lives in Plattsburgh with her husband, Toby. She has been a Press-Republican newsroom employee since 1977. The Tobiases have six children, 18 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. They enjoy traveling to Maine and Colorado, and in her spare time, Susan loves to research local history and genealogy. Reach her by email at