New Year's Eve came and went without much fanfare during my early years on the farm.
The Christmas rush is over and this week the world will rejoice by turning a page on the calendar to the year 2015.
We've been receiving gift calendars for a couple of weeks now from businesses. It's an advertising ploy to get a business' name in front of you every time you turn to a new month.
My wife and my business were no different. We always chose a calendar that sported old west scenes with wild horses and longhorn steers and cowboys. We liked to think that anyone receiving such a calendar would hang it someplace where it would be seen, but some no doubt ended up in the outhouse.
Celebrations on New Year's Eve in the country used to be somewhat muted where I grew up. There were no restaurants located anywhere among the cornstalks. Eating out on New Year's Eve was considered a luxury that only "town people" could afford. I don't remember ever venturing far from the farmhouse kitchen for a New Year's Eve meal.
Chores still had to be done on that holiday evening. Cows wanted to be milked on time, every day. Livestock had to be fed, just like any other evening of the year. It was usually cold on those Dec. 31 evenings, and we usually had to thaw the cattle water tank, thaw frozen milking machine vacuum lines and toss extra bedding in with the small calves.
Holiday eves didn't mean less work.
But, people still did get together that evening, either with close family or close neighbors. It wasn't unusual to have folks arrive after chores were done to spend an evening playing Canasta or a spirited game of Pinochle.
New eating dishes might be introduced that evening, as I recollect. Food you wouldn't try any other time of the year might come out of the oven or from the refrigerator. The day after New Year's Eve, we were back to basic meat and potatoes for the rest of the year.
Sparkling champagne never met our lips. The men might have a beer and the ladies of the house might have a sip of wine, but wild parties with whistles blowing and bells ringing were normally not seen or heard. Visiting was the highlight of the night.
Talk revolved around the results of the just past harvest season. Bushels of corn per acre, prices for hogs or the low price of chicken eggs were usually topics of interest. You might find out who was going to have a baby in the next year or when the preacher was thought to be leaving the church for another destination.
And, the night usually wound up long before the clock struck midnight. Around 10 p.m. the men started to yawn and stretch their arms, which meant they were ready to head home. Mornings came early, even on New Year's Day, and the work would begin again, just like last year and the years before that.
Celebrations will abound this week as the year 2015 enters for better or worse. People will meet, raise a glass of cheer, toot a whistle or two and maybe dance their way to midnight. Bands will play and that big, crystal ball will drop in the middle of Times Square.
One would guess we might be glad to say goodbye to 2014.
The farmland will remain mostly silent on New Year's Eve as it has been over the years. Lights will flicker out before midnight and the new year will enter silently. Somehow, I enjoyed that kind of celebration.
See you next time and Happy New Year! Okay?