My downstairs neighbor told me I would be able to see the fireworks from my front window and she was right! I was knitting away and listening to music when I heard the first thump, and went to the window to see that I had a great view of the glorious lights. I have now found at least one reason to stay in this tiny place for one more year. It has been exquisitely cold here the last few First Nights, and I felt no inclination to freeze myself for the pretty lights. But standing here next to my heater, with a grandstand view of them, I nearly purred. My cats on the other hand beat feet as far from the flashing lights as they could.
My First NIght activity was to spend several hours in the basement of the Unitarian Universalist church that gave Burlington’s pedestrian friendly Church St. Marketplace its name. We put on, as we have for many years, a lasagna dinner for those revelers who wanted an inexpensive and friendly warm bite to eat to stave off the chill. This year, I became the keeper and watcher of the coffee table. Last year I served lasagna, and I wanted a new task this year. I learned to run the coffeemaker in the upstairs kitchen, and had three urns of regular, decaf, and hot water ready at the start of the meal. Unlike prior years, the hot water was the big seller this year. Many people made themselves hot chocolate with a squirt of coffee to have a slightly backwards mocha. For the first hour we thought it would be a bad year, but suddenly the place was wall-to-wall customers. As usual we had enough lasagna, but it was closer this year than it had been for the past several First Nights. Still a good time was had by all and there was great camaraderie among the workers as well as the guest.
I am looking forward to the coming year. If you had told me last year at this time that my first novel would be at my editor and its sequel well in hand, I would have laughed hysterically. But by this time next year, I expect to have two books in print, and the third, a prequel, coming close behind. It is a funny world we live in, and the good can come along when we least expect it. If you had told me last year that I would be writing poetry, some of it quite political, and planning to write enough more to publish one of those little books found at the cash registers of bookstores, I would have accused you of being on drugs. As recently as September, I was saying I don’t do poetry. I would argue that I still don’t, but that I have a knack for a certain kind of doggerel, although some of my free poetry and pantoums are quite acceptable. (If you want to know what a pantoum is, I strongly urge you to check out poetryfoundation.org and specifically its glossary of terms found in the Resources tab under Learning Lab–button on far right.) I learned much of what I know about poetry from what I read there. Whoda thunk it?