I hadn't really wanted to go. I'd seen them only six months before and, friends though we are, I didn't see why they'd want me there on New Year's Eve. They had family and friends; there was no need for me to make the trip. Besides, for the first time since getting a full time job I was broke at the end of the month. The Christmas season does that.
My brother talked me into it, so whatever happened was his fault. Mostly there were fireworks, the good ones that you can't buy in Georgia. And there was football on the beach. I'm not the world's biggest fan of country music, but something about driving down a country road in southern Alabama, in an SUV so packed that Holly Anne had to ride in back with the dog, windows down and the wind ripping at our faces, with the country music blasting loud and homey, it all felt right.
You'd think playing football on the beach on the last day of the year would be amazing. You'd be right; it was. The sand sucked at our feet and turned a friendly game into a lot of work. Hot and exhausted we stumbled back to the towels, where Mrs. P snapped a few pictures to commemorate the grand occasion. Or maybe she just likes cameras; I think there's something about that extra x chromosome.
Exhausted but happy we crowded into the Suburban and headed back to the house. After a shower we drove to campus for the vigil Mass of the feast of Mary Mother of God. On the way back to the house we stopped at Jake's Place to get gas and beer and then across the street for fireworks.
The girls had a cousin visiting from Wyoming. Sadly, the cousin was not a girl. He did teach us to jitterbug, at least the way they do in Wyoming. And so, with a bonfire burning back near the horse barn, we stopped in between fireworks and beer pong for a dance in the driveway.
It wasn't a perfect New Year's Eve; the champagne toast was a little rushed, the glasses were plastic, and despite my best wishing, no one else remembered the words to Auld Lang Syne, no one except my brother and I. Maybe they just weren't in a singing mood. I didn't mind. More dancing and a few drinks later, I walked back from the still glowing fire, and after one of the best New Year's Eves ever, I fell into bed exhausted, a little sad that I couldn't get up and do it all again in the morning. Never mind that; I'm glad I went.