Ringing in New Year like Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice

Way back in the early 1970s, my dad sometimes joked about the 1969 movie, Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice.

“Tom and Jo and Ed and Flo,” he would say, using his and Mom’s names and the names of another couple. I doubt if he ever saw the movie or knew anything about its plot. He probably just liked how the names rhymed because Ed and Flo — a real couple back then in the small community where I grew up — aren’t people I remember socializing with my parents.

But spending a Saturday night with other couples and their children was a common social activity for our family. My parents spent many evenings around the kitchen table at the homes of Marlin and Linda or Mike and Mary Lynne. Other evenings were spent in the living room of Ronnie and Pat or the kitchen of Bob and Colene.

These evenings rank among some of my earliest childhood memories, which may qualify this blog post for The Daily Prompt of the WordPress editors: Childhood Revisited — What is your earliest memory? Describe it in detail, and tell us why you think that experience was the one to stick with you.

Like my parents, their friends were farm couples. For the most part, they were neighbors who lived just a few miles from our farm. Marlin, Ronnie and Bob had all grown up with my dad. Their parents were friends with his parents.

They lived lives that had little — if anything — in common with Bob, Carol, Ted and Alice. But I couldn’t tell you what they talked about back then because I was too busy:

  • Learning from Marlin and Linda’s boys — who are older than me — how to get into trouble.
  • Getting into trouble with some of Bob and Colene’s kids, who are closer to my age.
  • Helping show Mike and Mary Lynn’s kids — who are younger than me — how to avoid getting into trouble.

I’ve been thinking about all of this as we celebrate the holidays this year.

On Christmas Day, we spent the evening with our friends, Chris and Heidi, eating, drinking, talking, watching a movie and playing a board game. They invited us to join them this evening — New Year’s Eve — at a nearby casino where a band will be playing.

But we will be ringing in 2016 — the year in which I will turn 50. I don’t make it to midnight very often anymore. And listening to loud music in a crowded casino … well, as much as I like Chris and Heidi, I’d rather spend the evening closer to home. (Darn, this is making me sound old.)

So Janet and I will be celebrating tonight with Brian and Alma and Danelle and Jeremy and a growing list of our friends. Our celebration would likely look and sound familiar to Tom and Jo and Marlin and Linda and Mike and Mary Lynne and Ronnie and Pat and Bob and Colene. I think we’ll eat, drink, talk, and listen to music. And I know we’ll laugh. Maybe we’ll watch some football, but probably not.

Best of all, if I get tired and don’t make it to midnight, I’ll just go to bed, leaving the rest of them to laugh at me for being an old man.

We’ll have a merry time celebrating the New Year. I hope you do, too.

Happy New Year and best wishes in 2016.


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