The nice thing about having a New Year's Eve party for a bunch of old farts is that by 12:10 the last guests are leaving and you can clean up and be in bed before 1 a.m. That probably doesn't sound appealing to younger folks, but it sure does to me.
For many years we attended a wonderful New Year's Eve party hosted by our friends Helen and Cap. The house was always full of interesting people, most of the people we knew in Davis. Because Cap is a musician, playing with a group called the Putah Creek Crawdads (whose oldest member is just slightly younger than my mother), there was always lots of music, everyone sitting around the living room singing familiar old songs.
There was a groaning board of good snacks and, at midnight, a crab bisque to share from the big soup pots which had been simmering on the stove.
About ten years ago, we received an invitation to another party. This one was smaller, but all the guests had been members of the Davis Comic Opera Company and probably are the people we know best in Davis. We ate, drank, and played games. The conversation was always stimulating and my favoritest thing was sitting between Stephen Peithman, one of the smartest guys I know, and movie critic Jim Lane, another one of the smartest guys I know and listening to them talking movies and theater.
I missed Cap and Helen's party, but really, really loved this DCOC party.
Two years ago, the DCOC party hostess announced it was getting to be too much work for her and she would not be hosting the party for 2014. One of the others in the group agreed to host (we did not attend because I was home sick and was asleep before midnight). This year nobody offered to host the party and so we were free to go to Helen and Cap's party again.
It was like stepping back 10 years. Most of the same people were there, though fewer in number since age and, in some cases death, had taken their toll. Those who were there were older looking, more had infirmities or new body parts. The most sparkly of the group was there with a new boyfriend on her arm, his and her spouses having died several years ago.
This year the bisque was served in the middle of the party, because more and more people were leaving before midnight in recent years.
But it was still the wonderful celebration of friendship that I remember from past years. I ended up in a group of 3, each of us telling childbirth stories, this prompted by the recent birth by the 50 year old daughter of good friends of ours. We talked about how childbirth and breastfeeding practices differ today from "our day," but how the "gimme a pill and make the pain go away" generation less frequently chooses natural childbirth and how that seems a shame to us old timers.
At midnight we stood around the living room in a huge circle, holding hands, and singing Old Lang Syne, accompanied by Cap on the banjo.
At 12:10, Walt and I were among the last to leave and I'll bet Cap and Helen were asleep before 1 a.m. What great fun it was to be at that party again. I missed the DCOC people, but this was really a lovely evening.