After she covered her black eyed peas with water to soak overnight, Millie went outside to help her husband wrap the big ball of chicken wire with Christmas lights. Every year, the couple hosted the New Year’s Eve party at their farm just South of Montgomery, and at ten seconds ‘till midnight, slowly lowered the glowing orb to the ground as the crowd counted down from 10.
Dangling the glowing ball from the pulley over the barn, it threw a warm glow over the band below on their makeshift stage of plywood. Friends from near and far came loaded down with food to share and told stories of how they spent their Christmases, playing with babies, or arguing with their in-laws. Children chased each other and only stopped to roast marshmallows over a roaring bonfire. The latest technology gadgets received as gifts were a hot topic with the teens, but the new gadgets were soon shoved deep into coat pockets as the stars caught their attention and flashing smiles suddenly fascinated them more than the flashing screens.
Ideas for resolutions were kicked around, and most who vowed to diet, added the stipulation of, “after tonight, of course.” Tilly Jo had a tear run down her cheek as she remembered the difficult past year and the horrible day she learned her daughter had suddenly died. Her friends noticed and quietly wrapped their arms around her or patted her shoulders. Without saying a word, they knew what she was thinking and shared her pain and hopes that the new year would bring peace.
Inside the house, the television broadcast the New Year’s Eve celebration from Times Square in New York City. The Waterford crystal incrusted sphere sparkled as it was lowered to the ground and the huge crowd was showered with confetti.
Back in Alabama, the chicken wire globe was lowered, couples embraced and children cheered. Bottle rockets zipped through the air as casserole dishes were cleared away and tables were folded and carried into the barn.
Different worlds, different people but both . . . please click HERE to continue the story at AL.com.