Thursday, December 31, 2009

Another Year Gone By

Wow, another year that has flown by! Got any plans for New Year's Eve? I am running into more and more people who say the same thing we do - we'll be lucky if we're even still awake when midnight rolls around!

Back in my much younger days, I considered it a tragedy if I wasn't out somewhere on New Year's Eve. And to be asleep before midnight? Unthinkable. But these days, to me it is just another day, albeit a good one because the office is only open half day on New Year's Eve and of course, closed the next day. So automatically that makes it cause for celebration.

One particular New Year's Eve always comes to mind - the end of 1971. My folks would not let me use the car because they didn't want me driving that night. For a while it seemed that we'd be stranded at our respective homes but then Rob came through with an invitation to go to his house. I don't remember the means by which we arrived, but there we sat, Duane, Rick, Rob and I, now "out" on New Year's Eve (well, at least not at home, although Rob was), all of us looking at each other wondering what to do since we weren't supposed to drive anywhere. Lucky David, with wheels that night, was out on a date with his girlfriend Joanne.

Since Rob's parents had gone to his uncle's house, he suggested opening a bottle of Cold Duck that was sitting in their refrigerator.

"You sure they aren't going to notice?" we asked him. He assured us that they wouldn't. So he popped open a bottle. Me, I refused to drink because I hated the taste of alcohol and, at least at that time, had vowed not to drink that stuff. But the others had made no such declarations.

Even though a good part of the bottle remained, people started acting silly. It got even sillier until the sobering moment when the phone rang.

"Hello?" answered Rob. "Oh. Nothing. We're just sitting around. Huh? No. Uh, okay. Alright. We'll see you." He hung up the phone. Panic was on his face.

"What's the matter?"

"Oh man, oh man, do I sound drunk?" Rob asked.

"What are you talking about?"

"It was my mom. She said to come over to my uncle's house and have some food."


"So then she asked me if we were drinking. How did she know??? Oh man, oh man, did I sound drunk on the phone??"

We assured him that he sounded completely sober. That didn't seem to make him feel much better. "But how did she know we were drinking? She asked if we were drinking anything!"

"She was kidding," I told him. "She must have been joking around with you. If she really thought you were drinking, wouldn't she sound mad?"

"I guess so."

"Well did she sound mad?"


"Then stop worrying!" Of course it was easy for me to say that since I hadn't had anything to drink. But I was sure that his mom was just joking around with him.

"Oh man, is my face all red?" Rob asked.

"What about me?" Duane asked.

"Me, too," said Rick.

Rob was all worried now. "How are we going to go over there with our faces all red? They're gonna know, they're gonna know!"

"Your faces aren't red," I said. "Stop worrying about that!"

Rob's uncle lived only a few blocks away so he had permission to drive the other family car over there. We all piled in the car, after they ate something to remove any traces of alcohol breath, and then drove very slowly to the uncle's place. We got there, rang the doorbell, went in and no one was the wiser. All I remember once we got there was that I ate a whole bunch of wontons because I have a weakness for those.

Later, Duane told us his parents said it was okay for us to spend the night at his place, and that's what we ended up doing, sans David. The rest of us were landlocked, which, on New Year's Eve, felt especially confining.

It turned out to be a rather quiet New Year's Eve for us. The only real noise came sometime after midnight when the honk of a car horn interrupted the silence.

"What is the matter with that idiot?" I said. "It's not even midnight - it's past midnight so why is he making all that noise?" Soon the honking stopped.

A day or two later we saw David and asked him how his date was. "What's the matter with you guys, anyway?" he said.

"What do you mean, 'what's the matter?'"

"I drove past Duane's house after dropping off Joanne and saw Rob's car parked out there. Didn't you hear me honk the horn? I honked it a few times. Where were you??"

"That was you out there honking the horn?" we asked.

None of us had even thought to look out the window. "We thought you were some drunk jackass celebrating the new year," I said.

And so much for the beginning of 1972.


As this year draws to a close, I thought about what the most memorable event was for me in 2009.

Actually, there was no one thing I can point to; instead, I am so happy to have reconnected with so many old friends this year, as well as having made a couple of new ones via this blog and Facebook. That has been extremely rewarding! For that I am truly thankful.


donna said...

Funny post. I agree, nice to hook up with friends from the past. Just think we found each other because of fried chicken... how funny is that?
Happy New Year, Rickie! May you have thousands of words to write so I may read them.

Rickie Miyake said...

Thanks, Donna! Was it over fried chicken? I thought it was Holiday Bowl or maybe that thread wove its way around from chicken to Crenshaw? Anyway, Happy New Year to you as well! Thank you so much for all your encouragement, and friendship as well.

donna said...

I remember it starting from Golden Bird on Santa Rosalia, but whatever it was, the world is very, very small and I'm glad we were both reading Chowhound! Please extend my good wishes to your parents!