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Celebrations and resolutions

As I was watching the morning news recently, a commercial aired for the infamous Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve. I’m no longer much of a New Year’s Eve reveler, opting now to relax at home and watch others party in the New Year. Mr. Clark’s production is certainly a TV fan favorite today, along with First Night celebrations in Boston and other cities. I think back to the times as a kid when my parents would partake in New Year’s Eve celebrations at the old Canadian Club in Nashua. The next morning, I would wake up to an annual treat of their leftover party hats, horns and my personal favorite, those ratchet crank things for which I have no clue of the actual name. I’ll just call it a noisemaker. Each year my Mom would comment, “There must be a lot of big heads this morning.” I never quite understood what that meant until adulthood. I pictured someone with a cartoon-like head on a small body having trouble staying upright. In hindsight, the trouble staying upright part was probably right on.

Years ago, on New Year’s Eve night, I can remember the old black and white boob tube blaring (I know, I’m dating myself) with Guy Lombardo and his Royal Canadians, aka, Mr. New Year’s Eve long before Dick Clark, performing big band music live from the Ambassador Hotel in New York City. Back then, the band was dressed to the nines in tuxedos, along with many of those on the dance floor who were ringing in the new year. At minimum, it was suits, ties and formal dresses. We don’t see that often today. I’m sure it was quite colorful, but we never knew it, with it being broadcast in black and white. Many of the local Nashua clubs (Canadian Club, Social Club, Polish Club, The Loomfixers Club, Club National, et al) along with the VFW and American Legion, would sponsor and advertise celebrations throughout the city. For a very nominal fee, you could get a table that included “set ups.” Just another way of saying it included basic drink mixes such as soda, tonic water and club soda. Some even provided light snacks.

And beyond the celebrations, what would January 1st be without New Year’s resolutions? Or, our annual promises to ourselves for what we resolve to do in the coming year to make our lives better, simpler, or easier, most of which will be broken by week two January. We may resolve to lose weight, which is probably the most popular resolution based upon the number of weight loss, workout center and exercise equipment ads we see on TV this time of year. Other resolutions may include saving money, getting a better job, calling Mom or Dad more often, being more patient (my wife chuckles at me on that one) volunteering or just being a better person. There are endless ways we can resolve to make ourselves and this world better.

The New Year’s holiday just doesn’t seem to be as big a deal as it once was. It could be people are more socially responsible now, lead lives that are too busy, no longer think of it as a major holiday or, all the above. In some faiths it’s a religious holiday.

Now the year 2020 is here. I can remember watching the Jetsons as a kid thinking that 2020 was as far into the future as The Flintstones were back in time. Flying cars, robots, picture phones? Ha! We are there! It often seems like the clock is now on warp speed. But let’s take time to think back on what the last year brought us and to plan and hope for the best in the coming year. Many of us have a lot to be thankful for from past years and here’s wishing many more have a lot to be hopeful for in the New Year.

Don Canney is a freelance writer and professional voice artist. He was born and raised in downtown Nashua with great interest in Nashua history circa 1950-1970.

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