For the past six years, teenage friends of my daughter Suzie knew where to go on New Year’s Eve – our house. The food spread - bowls of chips and nachos, bite-sized fresh pineapple, homemade chocolate chip cookies, my famous baked “tinnie winnies” and serve-yourself liters of pop – came out a 9:30 PM. Backyard fireworks started at 10 PM and Ed’s cannon would boom at Midnight. You could count on this.
Several years ago on New Year’s Eve, Will had brought his potato gun to the party. He shot a bushel of pears through the pipe into the woods, went through my remaining 10 pound bag of potatoes, and shot handfuls of dried beans which eventually sprouted in my yard.
“Sorry, Will. I just don’t know what you’re going to do for the celebration this year,” I said in a consoling voice.
Ed and I would be alone on New Year’s Eve. Ed had driven from Livingston, Texas as far south as Victoria on December 31st. A clerk at the Valero convenience store recommended we join the party at Pecos Bill’s honkey tonk. We checked it out. Festivities started there at 9 PM and it was only 7 PM. The cover charge of $10 bucks per person paid for the dj, dancing, paper hats and noise makers. So as not to drink and drive, we’d need to boondock in the parking lot – a place sure to be noisy into the morning hours. All things considered, we opted to go beyond the city limits and forget the bar.
We boondocked in the quiet gravel lot of the 4-H Center near Victoria’s regional airport. There’s was no cover charge to dance by candlelight to Trace Adkins Greatest Hits Volume II American Man in the coach. We cranked it up for “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” and “Hot Mama” and downed ice cold Millers from the ‘fridge. Happy New Year!