Bidding on the New Year

At present, my New Year’s Eve looks like it will be a quiet one.

It was not always thus.

Back during the years when my father was pastor of Blankenship UMC, a number of people from that church (it wasn’t an official church activity, but might as well have been) used to get together each New Year’s even and play Rook all evening. Originally, this was held at a tiny little rural community center, but it eventually moved to a couple of larger private homes. It was a lot of fun – there would be a particular rotation of tables. If you and your partner won, you would move up to the next table, where you would divide up and re-partner with the two people who were already there. Each person kept track of how many games he or she had won over the course of the evening so that a prize could be given at the end of the evening.

The games would end as midnight approached. We’d all circle up and sing “Auld Lang Syne,” then pile into our cars and head for Shoney’s in Murfreesboro.

Early on in our tenure at Blankenship, back when the Shoney’s on 231 in Murfreesboro was right on I-24 in the building which now houses a Chinese restaurant, the Shoney’s was under new management. The new manager had been told not to expect many people overnight on New Year’s Eve, and he’d staffed accordingly – himself, one very pregnant waitress, and one man on the grill. That was it.

And then our group arrived, maybe 30 or 35 strong. And we weren’t the only customers, either.

I miss those days. It was a fun way to spend the evening.