A Ball, A Peach, A Possum
Lynn Horton is a freelance writer and editor who in another lifetime taught English and Creative Writing at McIntosh High School and later worked in the Starr’s Mill High School Media Center.

A Ball, A Peach, A Possum

lynn-head-shot
Lynn Horton is a freelance writer and editor who in another lifetime taught English and Creative Writing at McIntosh High School and later worked in the Starr’s Mill High School Media Center.

I have never, ever understood the wildly excited crowds that stand around in near-freezing, sometimes rainy, near-freezing weather with tall, foolish-looking purple hats on their heads for twelve hours or more waiting for a big ole glittery ball, or a giant peach or even a stuffed possum, to drop slowly from the sky. I like fireworks, and I like free concerts, but being corralled in a standing position for hours and hours without even a hot toddy or an umbrella is just not my idea of fun. I did, however, finally learn the answer to my most burning question concerning the New Yorkers cordoned off in Times Square without backpacks or “spirits” for the entire day and night. “No.”
That’s the answer. No, there aren’t any “facilities.” No porta-potties. I was stunned.
Do you think these people have been training their bladders for the last few months so they can survive the ordeal of the fifteen hour wait? Is there some kind of camp one signs up for to learn to survive the arduous task of the Great Ball Drop? Are there classes in Standing 101, Elbowing Etiquette 400, and Advanced Kidney Control? I did hear one news commentator remark that there were a large number of Depends-type adult diapers found in the trash along the streets of NYC on Sunday morning, January 1, 2017. Eeeew. That does not even merit thinking about. Eeeew.
Because of the potential for terrorist attacks, the Times Square celebration has changed dramatically in just the last few years. Gone are the true “Revelers,” gone the crazy costumes, the clever masks, the loud horns and noise makers and home-made banners, gone the spontaneity of the past. The folks attending Saturday night’s celebration were “directed into 65 pens that hold 3,000 people each and stretch from Times Square to 59th Street. They will go through a series of metal and radiation detectors. Umbrellas and large bags are banned as well as alcohol,” according to the NYPD. Naw. I think I’ll stay home.
Anyway, I ‘m not one who gets excited about “ringing in the New Year.” To me, there has never been anything so bittersweet as saying goodbye to the Old One; to precious times with family and friends, to wonderful places visited, to saying goodbye to iconic figures of my girlhood like Harper Lee, John Glenn, Debbie Reynolds, all gone. Another New Year brings with it the realization that time really is passing faster as I grow older and that the world is changing with such dizzying speed that I may never catch up.
Sigh. . . Just when I had gotten the hang of the electric typewriter, here comes a computer keyboard. Then my P.C. threw me a curve; just as I became comfortable with Windows 7, Microsoft introduced Windows 8. My car doesn’t need a key, but I have to remember to bring a little oblong plastic do-dad along in my purse. And my Droid phone seems to know where I am and where I am going even when I do not! Brave New World, Indeed!!
I thought I was ready to embrace technology. Then something called a Smart T.V. came to live at our house. Bill just had to have it, but now he hands me three remotes and says, “Hey, find us a movie, I’ll get the popcorn.”  Hey wait! I can handle a microwave, but don’t give me a remote the size of Texas and expect miracles!
My daughter received a gift for Christmas that I have dreamed of since I was 9 years old. I coveted Dick Tracy’s futuristic wrist television like just about every other kid who read and followed the ace detective of the 1950s comic strip. And now that miniaturized, two-way radio/tv has morphed into a magic mini-computer that my daughter wears happily on her wrist. She couldn’t help showing off, asking it the time, getting Mickey’s cheerful answer, emailing or tweeting friends by voice command, googling for information on the show times for the new Star Wars movie. I admit I am jealous, especially since the Apple Watch will be much harder to misplace than my constantly AWOL cell phone; an evil imp that I can’t live without.
We did go to see “Rogue One “ the day after Christmas, supposedly the story of the time before the very first Star Wars, and I was delighted to finally learn how Princess Leia got those plans for the Death Star, that massive ball of weaponry, so the Rebels could defeat the Imperial Forces. It was a good movie and fun to see with my family. It was sweet to share a giant bowl of popcorn and a large Coke with my husband. But it was very sad that Carrie Fisher, Princess Leia, died the very day after we enjoyed the film. I have been told that she did actually complete another in the Star Wars series and that it will come out sometime this New Year. I’m afraid it will be far too sad for me to watch. Like seeing out an Old  Year. And a big Ball. Or Peach. Or Possum. Perhaps I will just give it a miss.
I do hope this will be a good year for you dear readers. May peace be a constant companion and may love be yours to share.