New Year’s Eve is largely overrated. Or maybe I just peaked too early. My favorite Eve memories are from grade school, when we still lived near Detroit, watching the Orange Bowl, staying up late, and waiting for the Ball to drop in Times Square.
Mom and Dad used to drop us with my grandparents. Grandpa always went to bed early. My younger brother and sister faded on the floor in front of the tele somewhere between 11:15 and 11:30. Grandma’s head was bobbing by 11:45. Then I’d wake them all, except Grandpa, just in time for the Ball — and guns.
After the ball dropped, we’d always hear guns going off. We’d go open the front door and listen to the neighborhood people celebrating — with guns? I never could quite figure that impulse to shoot guns in the air at midnight, nor what happened to all those bullets when they came back down.
It went pretty much the same every year, for what could only have been a handful of years, but I always enjoyed the whole of it. New Year’s Eve has never been quite the same in Chicago (the ball drops at 11pm? how weird is that?), without Grandma and Grandpa, and the guns.