First day of a new year

What are you doing New Years, New Years Eve? is a line from a song that keeps running through my mind every December 31. Ive had my share of New Years Eve parties, and I cant remember a single one with fondness. Besides not being a big hoopty-do party person, there were many years I just wanted to go to bed early and greet the new Year refreshed and with a new attitude. Im a big fan of New Years Day, however. Here are some favorite ways Ive celebrated January 1.

One year, my husband and I went to one of those hotel dance parties, with the room included in the package deal. I hated the party. One of the women at our table got sloppy drunk. I couldnt sleep, because noisy partiers walking down our hall had no respect for people who might actually be sleeping in their rooms. What I did enjoy was waking up early, having a fancy breakfast, and then hurrying home to let the dogs out. Have you ever liked something because it was over? But heres the best part. We got on our big winter coats and took the 2 dogs to the golf course and let them romp around in the snow to their hearts content and to my joy in watching them enjoy life. One of the dogs was my Seeing Eye, Mindy. She had to be taught to romp around freely, because for most of her young life, she was on a leash, in harness, or otherwise under control. Sometimes you just have to let go and romp. I guess thats why people like NYE parties. One year, I ad a gathering at my house on New Years Day. After we had eaten the barbecued pork and the obligatory sour kraut, we set off for a nearby park to take a 4-mile walk. It was invigorating and far far away from televised football games.

On this NYD, my friend Dan and I walked on the Scioto Mile and around downtown Columbus. We were like tourists, noticing remarkable features of old buildings he had never seen before and I had not known about. One of the highlights of the walk was my discovery of an enormous sculpture of a gavel, outside the courthouse where the Ohio Supreme court meets. Dan encouraged me to climb up on the pedestal on which this gigantic gavel was mounted and try to guess what it was. I felt like the proverbial blind men who were asked to identify the elephant, and they all had different impressions of what it was. But we had a lot of fun, coming up with different possibilities, as I climbed higher and higher on the sculpture to touch the top. I hope nobody was taking my picture. I might have been arrested. We continued our winter city hike by surveying the deconstruction of the dam downtown, which has exposed the parts of the bridge that are normally covered by water and tons of debris and detritus that had been submerged in the filthy river. In another year or so, that area will be turned into green space with a lovely view of a clean and sparkling river. Funny, how we never ran into any other hikers. I guess the other winter-loving walkers were down at the Hocking Hills, where I spent one of my favorite NYDs. My Seeing Eye, Sherry, and I were part of a COP group who hiked 6 miles through snowy woods and over icy creeks. We had our lunches at picnic tables in a clearing. One of the bridges we had to cross had been destroyed by floods that fall, so we had to traverse over a couple of logs. I was worried that Sherry might slip off, so 1 of the guys picked her up, flung her up on his shoulders, and carried her across. She was embarrassed, but I was grateful. Later, her toes kept getting big clumps of snow clinging to her pads, and she was limping. We stopped and removed the snowballs on her feet, and she was happy again. Being with friends, enjoying a winter wonderland, and getting exercise they just cant duplicate in a gym is my kind of NYD celebration.

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