The year is about to end. There are just a few hours left, but nothing tells me that I will not see the New Year. This is something that I have been doing for a very long time because over the past thirty years I have celebrated the New Year with people who did not live to repeat the celebration.
My mother gave birth to nine of us—one died before I was born—and while we were kids fast asleep, my mother would rouse all of us to welcome in the New Year. We slept on the floor, so she would have to kneel and wake every one of us.
It meant nothing to us because the place looked the same. We would look outside and at times there would be moonlight, but certainly the place did not change. I for one could not understand this fascination with a New Year. It was not until I became older and recognized the value of life that this tradition that my mother shared became meaningful.
Today, at midnight, I try to call every brother and sister—and the eight of us are still alive as is my mother—to wish them a Happy New Year. My children are also involved in this ritual, although they are now not living with me and for them there are more important things in life.
As I entered my twilight years, the dawn of the New Year took on an even added significance. The morbid side of me reminded me that each New Year brought my destiny with death closer and made me realize that I should enjoy every day to the fullest.
However, I take some comfort from the research someone did. The findings duly informed me that people tended to die closer to their birthdays. My birthday is November, so at the start of the year I convince me that things would be good for at least ten months of the year.
There is more to the New Year. There are the preparations and I enjoy them. There was a time when I was married and I looked forward to that midnight kiss and whatever followed. Those days are gone, but I still look forward to the cook-up. Even if I say so myself, I do cook a mean cook-up.
This year, I will be with three of my sisters and my mother who came from overseas to celebrate a Guyanese Christmas. During Boxing Day they came to my house, as did some aunts and cousins whom I had not seen in years. My eldest daughter was there with my granddaughter —I only have two granddaughters, but six grandsons—and I felt great.
Even as I write this I am planning a grand welcome for the New Year. I can’t drink as I once did because the next day makes me pay dearly. However, I can still trip the light fancy—this means dance—and I intend to. I am going to catch up with people with whom I will share images of the year now fast approaching its close.
And what would be some of those experiences? As a reporter many stories cross my desk, some of them most harrowing. There was the woman who lost her home to fire caused by some lamp. She is said to be living under a tent at the burnt-out site.
Then there was the other woman whose son torched her house because she refused to pay heed to his drug-addicted antics. There was the boating accident that claimed six lives—six people who did not live to see the Christmas—so near yet so far away. It was Prime Minister Sam Hinds who once reminded me that there’s many a slip between cup and lip.
There were good stories too. A young man pushes his paramour out of harm’s way just before a car kills him; a young Queen’s College student who thrived on three hours sleep per day to do well. I am going to talk about the flea infestation at Queen’s College.
I travelled to the Falklands and had a mind-blowing experience. I met people whose lifestyle is so casual that they are bound to live stress-free lives. Imagine living in a country in which no one can get permission to carry a weapon for personal protection. There is just no threat to defend one’s self against.
I saw penguins and sea lions; huge geese and I froze my privates to almost nothingness. The place was very cold.
The attacks on fishermen range high in my memory as do the fraud at National Communications Network and the mess in which the now dead police commissioner Henry Greene found himself. In fact, Henry Greene’s story was for a long time the talk of the town this past year. This was a fellow I knew and it hurt me to see him struggle in the face of the allegations.
I saw people who argued that they were law-abiding forget all about the law to hound Greene. They forgot about someone being innocent until proven guilty. In their mind, Greene was guilty until proven otherwise.
My classmate Roger Luncheon is bedridden for now and the New Year would meet him not being able to move around as much as I will. His birthday is fast approaching, so he had better develop his armoury to survive to see yet another New Year.
My boss, Glenn Lall, took on the mantle as the crusader against corruption. For his efforts he is attacked constantly. The other people have been good to me this year, but my colleagues at Prime News take the cake. They placed me on Facebook more than anyone else.
I love them all—Prime News and Kaieteur News people alike. My numerous friends who kept in touch with me all year cannot be forgotten. Just the other day it was 2000 and people were scared about computer crashes. Twelve years have passed and nothing has changed.
Resolutions? None. I can’t seem to keep any. Happy New Year.
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