It's the last day of 2011 and I am sitting here at the kitchen table wondering where did the year go. Time passes so quickly, it seems like just yesterday that we were anxiously awaiting the dawn of a new millenium and yet we have greeted eleven new years since.
I chuckle out loud to myself this morning reflecting upon that landmark New Year of 2000. At the time, we were making preparations and taking precautions for what many feared would cause computers to crash, power grids to fail and chaos to ensue. Even the most grounded of us found ourselves watching anxiously as the New Year dawned far away in lands like Samoa. News services had reporters stationed around the globe, covering the events as the millenium arrived in all of the time zones of the world. By the time that the ball dropped in Times Square, most of the doomsayers amongst us had relinquished and decided to enjoy a few cocktails and cheerfully mark the transition from old to new with the traditional count down; 10, 9, 8, ...
Recollections of the unnecessary dread is not my only source of humor when reflecting on the days leading up to the new millenium. Not by a long shot in fact. The root of my cackling this morning lies primarily within the "Legend of The Tygarts Valley Lions Club Baby New Year." Back in the day, before becoming a Transplant in The Land of Palm Trees, this guy lived in a quaint little hamlet surrounded by mountains in West Virginia. In those days, I was an active member of the coolest Lions Club in the world, the Tygarts Valley Lions Club (we didn't sell brooms or light bulbs but we did give away tens of thousands of dollars annually to needy causes within the valley). Each year, prior to Christmas, the club would gather, with their lovely wives/significant-others (sometimes "insignificant-others" in memory of Billy) and celebrate the holiday season complete with an always humorous visit from Santa. Usually a Santa who was fortified by the nectar affectionately known as Lion Juice. In 1999, however, the powers to be decided to center the entertainment portion of the party around a visit from Father Time and Baby New Years rather than the traditional Jolly Old Elf.
What happened that night is still quite allegorical. In honor and deference to the upcoming New Years Eve I will share with you the "myth" as it is still told today by many of those who were at the party that night. The story goes, that yours truly, played the role of Baby New Year being ushered into the party riding in a wheelbarrow driven by Father Time. The story recounts that Baby New Years was dressed in nothing but a diaper and drinking Lion Juice out of a latex nipple equipped baby bottle. There are still reports circulating throughout the Tygart Valley that prior to his appearance greeting the revelers Baby New Years was left alone in the kitchen area of the lodge, adjacent to the main room where the party was ongoing, to prepare for his appearance and introduction. At some point, before donning his neat snow white diaper the kitchen door swung open and the wife of one of the Lions, a renowned local optometrist, who happened to be MY optometrist, walked into the kitchen not knowing that baby New Years was standing there butt-naked preparing to "tidy up" for his big debut. Of course, this story was and remains legendary, much like reported sightings of the Lochness Monster and Big Foot. I don't believe it ever occurred. There is no video proof and no documented evidence. Thank goodness that camera phone technology wouldn't come along for a couple more years or your beloved blogger would be a YouTube sensation. There is only testimony from those in attendance and their affidavit is called into question due to the extreme lack of temperance exhibited at the gala that evening.
Like most legends, the retelling of this fable becomes embellished as the story is repeated throughout time. My theory is that those who claim to have witnessed the fictitious event had their conciousness somehow altered, maybe by some type of parasite that had tainted the orange juice in the grog that they were enjoying. At any rate, it makes for a very humorous recollection from the past. Hopefully as you celebrate and revel the passing of 2011 and the dawn of 2012 the New Year will find you surrounded by somebody you love and in the company of a fully clothed Baby New Year. I hear the effects of seeing him in an unclad fashion is quite memorable. Happy New Years To All, From The Land of Palm Trees.
Disclaimer: I do realize that this story could likely go viral.