New Year’s Eve had been a big event in my family. Every year we’d pack up and travel to Long Island spending the holiday at my aunt and uncle’s home with a house full of loved ones. Although I lived in Staten Island, New York at the time, and my cousin Christy lived in Long Island, New York, we were nonetheless close. We looked forward to New Year’s and when it was over, we’d count down the days until the next New Year.
As a kid, I remember the cousins and grandparents gathered around the dining room table filling up on antipasto. The mozzarella cheese still whets my appetite. There were so many snacks, there had been no need for dinner. My aunt would cook sausage rolls. She’d roll the dough, put bits of sausage in-between and place them in the oven. When it was done, she’d place them on a Christmas tree holiday tray, unable to get them on the table fast enough, because we’d all grab one before she’d put the tray down. The hot salty sausage and bread didn’t sit right with me, but it tasted delicious.
After our abundant number of snacks, we’d gather around the television watching Dick Clark’s New Year’s Eve show. We’d have our champagne glasses ready, or in Christy and my case, we’d have soda, then count down until the ball dropped. It’s so clear in my mind, I feel like a kid again. The family would hug, kiss and wish each other a healthy, happy year. Christy and I were allowed to stay up for dessert, our favorite part of the night. After eating all different types of cheeses and breads, my aunt would put cheesecake on the table. When I think about it, it’s amazing we didn’t suffer from high cholesterol. That’s not all. She’d also make fresh ground coffee, demitasse, and pastries. I usually went for a creamy custard filled Napoleon or the smooth, creamy crunchy cannoli. Christy always went for the cannoli and never finished it.
The fun still continued for the adults playing cards, while us kids had to go to sleep. But, come on, we didn’t sleep. We stayed up all night laughing until our stomachs had hurt. We’d have to keep our cool when the adults came to check on us, or we’d get in trouble for not going to sleep. It’s amazing we contained our laughter.
Now that you know my family loves food, cards and spending time together, there’s something else you should know. Those New Year’s holidays’ haven’t happened in many years. Us kids grew up; the family has gotten larger with new additions and we’ve all separated. Sure, we’ve gotten together for family events, a party or wedding, etc., but I miss those days when we were all together. Chortling with my cousin, pretending to be sleeping when we weren’t, eating and counting down the hours until the ball dropped, that’s what made it special. If only we could go back to the past, but the past is a memory.
I hold those memories close to my heart.
In my Thanksgiving article, I mentioned that I enjoy giving this time of year. I’d like to share with you something that has me overjoyed.
My husband and I decided to sponsor a child through a charity. We haven’t children of our own, well, that’s not completely true. We have Lucy and Breanna our furry Shih-Tzus that we love immensely; however, it’s different than having a child. In this particular program, the child gets to choose us. We’re still awaiting who that child will be and where. When we find out, we could communicate with the child by letter or e-mail. Unfortunately, some areas are very remote and do not have access to computers, so the e-mails would go to a central location, printed and read to the child through a translator, then the child could write back.
My heart is full helping a child in need.
That’s better than a cannoli any day.
Happy New Year.
Her flash fiction story “The Big Duke,” was published in 2015.
Her book “Shorts for the Short Story Enthusiasts,” was published in 2018.
Lisa resides on Long Island, NY with her husband Rick and her dogs Lucy Lu and Breanna Sue.
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