To celebrate the recent Random Passage of Time holiday, I give you this memory.
Age Celebrates the Passing of Time
When I was a teenager I went to stay at my Grandmother’s house for part of the winter break. My grandmother was probably about 85 years old. During the day, she usually wore her white hair neatly in a hairnet. She dressed in appropriate grandmotherly dresses, and moved fairly slowly.
When I would stay at her house, I would sleep on the couch in the living room, defying the tick-tock-whir of the clock to keep me from falling asleep. During my stay that particular time, it came to be New Year’s Eve. I had no interest in going to a noisy party, and didn’t really know anyone my age in that town anyway. So Grandmother and I both happily went to bed at the usual time, before 10 pm, figuring that we would welcome in the New Year in the morning.
I fell asleep there on the couch, having won the battle with the ticking, whirring clock. In the middle of the night, I awoke with a start. Was that a ghost?! A pale figure in a white nightgown, with a shock of white hair, was standing in the living room. My heart beat faster. The figure lifted a hand – was that a weapon? No, it was – a saucepan. The figure’s other hand held a spoon. As I came to full consciousness I realized it was my Grandmother. She said, “Come on. We have to go outside on the porch.” I glanced at the clock – it was exactly midnight.
Filled with amazement I followed Grandmother out into the quiet chill. She stood on the porch in her nightgown, and began banging the pot with the spoon, for the whole neighborhood to hear. She continued to make this noise for about a minute, as I watched in silent amazement. Then without another word she went inside the house and went back to bed.
* * * * * *
That was the first, and last, time I had encountered this New Year’s tradition, until this year, when some kids in our neighborhood welcomed the New Year by running up and down the street at midnight, banging on pots. It’s good to know some strange and useless traditions haven’t disappeared completely. Happy New Year.