2008 did not go gentle into the good night, that's for sure.
It went kicking and screaming.
As if to make a point that 2008 was indeed a year to be feared, and maybe even to up the ante to replace 2005 as the worst year of all time, 2008 threw curve balls right up until the last second.
So after driving 12 and a half hours back to Austin from Missouri, I saw flashing lights behind me. Yes, in Austin, after I turned off my cruise control and was cruising to my house, not five miles away from my destination and closing down the 1400 mile trip, I got a speeding ticket. Crap. Thanks 2008. All the money I saved not buying a plane ticket will now go to the City of Austin cause some cop needed to make quota and I was on auto pilot.
New Year's Eve arrived, one of my favorite holidays of the year (the symbolism of turning over a new leaf, a new year is VERY important to me if you haven't figured that out yet) and I held a funeral service for 2008 in my back yard.
Because we still had a few hours left, I performed last rites over the year. And instead of the year confessing it's final sins, we funeral attendees wrote our sin, sadness we felt in 08, evil that happened to us or friends... stuff like that, on pieces of paper that we then threw into the small bonfire and burned. It was lovely. Then we went inside and wrote things in 09 that we are looking forward to including Pete & Joy's baby, Zoe, Chris & Michelle's baby "L," a new play (Inherit the Wind) at church, a Chile Mission Trip, etc. We put those papers in the center of the table and took turns picking one out, reading it out loud, and then cheering and toasting it with champagne and sparking grape juice. Finally, we planted a few new cacti in a flower pot and the service was over. We went our separate ways to prepare for the evening's festivities.
I went to the Animal Hospital. Because although the very sick 2008 had received it's last rites, as i mentioned before, it would not go gently into the good night. With 10 minutes until my vet closed, Zorba came inside the house covered in leaves with a swollen eye that was leaking fluid. I spent the next two and half hours at the animal hospital trying to ignore the urine smell and straining to read the subtitles on Pirates of the Carribean playing in the waiting room from the examination room Zorby and I had been put in. And because there were two emergencies that came in around that same time, Zorba had to wait. Consequently I had to wait. And wait and wait. I threatened to go home and just wait there for my vet to re-open on Jan 2, but Zorba's nurse threatened that my cat might lose his eye. So we stayed. And 2008 just smirked.
Two and a half hours (and a full movie) later, we left for home. Zorba threw up and then pooped on himself in the car.
I was cleaning that up when I realized that not making concrete plans for New Year's but rather "maybe meeting up" with about four or five separate groups of people may mean that I wasn't going to actually have any plans for New Year's. Fortunately, my best friends the Gold-Johnsons knew my diress and said, "Lines be damned we're going to Hyde Park Bar & Grill." There were no lines though and with our tummies filled with delicious food and bloody mary's (except for Michelle who's pregnant), we met with with the also pregnant Pete & Joy at Epoch and then on we went to the Gallagher's whom P & J hadn't seen since they returned from Israel.
An hour later with champagne in hand, Johnson gave a beautiful toast about years and memories, and it was poetic, but i don't remember a single word of it, and then 3-2-1, 2008 gasped it's last few breaths and then... was... gone. Gone.
And 2009 left our imaginations and entered into our lives. 2009.
2009. Welcome. I will bless you if you bless me. And maybe if we promise to get along, your last rites won't be so painful in 12 months. Cause that's all you get. 12 months. So let's make the most of it, okay?
January 1, 2009 This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it.