By Lynn Moncus
Trying to select a favorite New Year’s Day would be an impossible task for this woman from Ima because very few stand out a clearly as do particular Christmas days. Although we always celebrated that day as a family and ate our black-eyed peas, we rarely did anything spectacular other than being together.
I guess the ones that stand out the most in my younger years were those during which we were either moving into or out of the sheriff’s residence in the courthouse. Moving in was always exciting because that meant we would spend the next two terms living rather dangerous lives since we never knew what might happen next and had to remain alert at all times. Fortunately, none of us was ever hurt, but we came a little too close at times and had a few attacks of nerves along the way. Whether we would have an uninvited prisoner land in the kitchen or whether we would be riding herd on one because Dad didn’t want to place a woman or a girl in a cell at a particular time, we knew each of us had a job to do in order to remain safe.
Moving out was usually a bit of a relief for one of us because I could come and go much more freely and could invite more friends into our home. I could go into the house without having to run up three flights of stairs while wondering if I might meet someone along the way in those dark, echoing halls. All of us could sleep soundly because the phone wasn’t ringing in the middle of the night and because we didn’t have to listen when the elevator started in order to be sure we knew whoever might be on it. We could also eat our meals at normal times and could have something besides the same food we had fed the prisoners.
During the years we lived in town, we always sat up on New Year’s Eve in order to hear the fire whistle at midnight and to listen to the train whistles that sounded for several minutes. At least, we knew when the New Year came in without watching television or listening to the few fireworks we can sometimes hear now. In the canyons, we had neighbors in to play board games most of the night and often into the next day. The men would take a break to go home to do chores, the women would take short naps, and the children would spend most of the night on pallets away from the noise so we could be rested in order to play outdoors on the big day itself. Someone would watch the clock so the rest could know when the new year began, but it always began quietly out there as did most days.
Because I was never one to want to promise more than I might be able to accomplish, I avoided making any kind of resolutions orally and made very few to myself unless I knew I could keep them. My parents taught me to take each day as it comes and to make the best of both bad and good times. Mother taught me to make an inventory of the good things that happened each day and to let the bad things go by the wayside. She said I should look for daily gifts, such as friendship, and work my way around the rocks that might be placed in the road. I continue to follow her lead and have found that she surely knew what she was teaching me so long ago.
Let’s just look forward to each day and have a good 2007!