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December 29, 2017     Cape Gazette
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December 29, 2017

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Cape Life Remember old traditions for a Happy New Year N ow that the dog has eaten all the Christ- mas wrapping, the fire department eventually opened the fireplace flue and the rela- tives' cars have been towed out of the mud, it is time to turn our attention to the new year. It's one of my favorite holidays. Oh, it's not just the chance to wear a paper hat, blow an annoying horn in someone's face and make ridiculous fantasy resolu- tions. Now that I think about it, I guess maybe it is. Yet, there is something about New Year's Eve that seems to have some disconnect from the real world. On the one hand, we are happy to see the year end, but on the other hand we have no idea what "Auld Lang Syne" means. Yet we can't stop singing that song when the clock strikes midnight. You can forget your spouse's name or where you parked your car, but you will never forget the lyrics that in- clude, "Should old acquaintance be forgot and never brought to mind...” It could mean that you should forget old friends, they are so annoying anyway, plus they know a lot about your past, or it might have something to do with not forgetting them, but you can’t because they are like a broken record, calling and call- ing, sending emails and face- booking. It never ends. Anyhow, this is a holiday steeped in many traditions and rituals. OK, the main ritual is Alka-Seltzer broken gently into a glass of water the next day; it helps if you genuflect and cross yourself before this ritual. I'm not accusing anyone of drink- ing too much; however, you may also need two people to hold your head up to the glass. They say that even the noise from a single bubble surfacing is so painful it has driven people stark raving mad, running out in the traffic and claiming there are knives sticking through their eyeballs. Of course, most of them can't remember where they left their eyeballs the night before. I do recall that old tradition of New Year's Eve being portrayed as very glamorous with dinner and dancing in a supper club. Women wore elegant dresses and everyone drank champagne or martinis. People drank hard liquor back then. And I mean it was so hard, after a few whiskey and ginger ales, you couldn't penetrate a person's skull with a blowtorch. But it was the time of Frank Sinatra and the big bands. Patrons had names like Johnny Leg Breaker and Sal the Enforcer. At midnight everyone embraced, and believe it or not, you actually knew the person you smacked on the lips. I'm not sure what the tradi- tions are today, but I do know they are taken so seriously that hundreds of strangers will stand in line together for hours be- hind a police barricade in Times Square to see a crystal ball drop, even though those strangers haven't had a potty break in the last 24 hours. The one tradition that was the most problematic for many people, though, was that you had to have a date on New Year's Eve. If you were single, you could never admit that you were home alone; well, it's just almost un-American. People would go to great lengths to pretend they had plans. Department stores reported major thefts of manne- quins around that time of year, as partygoers snatched them for fake dates. People would bring strangers they met on the freeway to the office party, and of course the ultimate in creativ- ity, cut-out cardboard people to place in the windows to prove they had been planning a blow- out New Year's Eve get-together with friends, even if they are cardboard. I'm not sure this tradition still holds, though. With all the technology today, you can fax a date or simply photoshop one; no one looks up from their iPad, iPhone or computer anyway. But check it out – the best tra- dition is simply wishing some- one a Happy New Year! Cape Gazette FRIDAY, DECEMBER 29 - MONDAY, JANUARY 1, 2018 53 Nancy Katz » AROUND TOWN CAPE HENLOPEN SENIOR CENTER HOLDS CHRISTMAS CONCERT Jeffrey Rosen sings along sporting a purple holiday hat. Dancers Nicole Renn and Charlie Gifford from Dance With Me perform a swing dance after a waltz for the appreciative audience. Magician Randy Forrest, center, from Dickens Parlour The- atre in Millville performs a Houdini escape with the help of Charlie Schmidt, left, and Rick Rynkowski. CAPE HENLOPEN SENIOR CENTER held its annual Christmas Concert Dec. 20 in Rehoboth Beach. The con- cert featured the CHSC Chorus, a ma- gician and young ballroom dancers.  The Cape Henlopen Senior Cen- ter Chorus performed tradition- al Christmas songs accompanied by pianist Judy Moore. Shown in back are (l-r) Howard Dashiell, Bill Reg- nault, Eric Kafka and Jeffrey Rosen. In front, Ellen Clemens, Ann Nowecki, Georgette Regnault and Brenda Côté. STEVEN BILLUPS PHOTOS