Chuck Terrill: Happy New Year

Wednesday, January 8, 2020

We had a New Year's Eve party at our house.

Mary and I hosted four of our grandchildren. Isabelle is 6, Madeline is 5, and Alex and Lilly, our twins, are nearly 3. It was an over-nighter, and we had a lot of fun.

But about 8 p.m. we could tell that we were running out of steam.

The kids had plenty of energy, even though they were up past their bed time. But, Mary and I had watched all of the Mickey Mouse episodes we could stand to watch in one evening. Every toy in the house had been gathered and strewn all over the family room floor. The kids had eaten all of the popcorn, cookies, and junk food allowed by law for children under the age of 12. And to top it off, as a special treat, everyone had been allowed to drink soda with abandon from their very own can.

To put it mildly, those kids were all on a sugar high that was clearly beyond limits. About 8:30 p.m., I shouted, “Get ready kids! It’s nearly time! Get Ready! Get Ready!”

They all found their brightly colored party hats and put them on. They each had one of those paper honking horns with all of the colorful fringe on the end of it. No one had to instruct them, they got in a circle in the middle of all of those toys, the popcorn, and spilled soda. The four of them stood there, watching me, with so much excitement on their faces.

I looked at my watch: “Only 8:36 p.m.,” I thought.

“Ten!” I shouted! Then those four little voices joined in unison, “Nine! Eight! Seven! Six! Five! Four! Three! Two! One! Happy New Year!”

For the next fifteen minutes they ran around in circles, kicking debris all over the room, shouting “Happy New Year!” and blowing their horns. It was a pretty extraordinary celebration. Mary got out her smart phone to video the chaos so our children could watch their kids on Facebook.

I sat in my recliner, grinned, and encouraged the kids. “Run! Jump! Shout! Happy New Year!” I told them over and over. And they complied. Yelling, jumping, shouting, and running amok ensued.

Finally, Isabelle sat down.

“I am tired,” she wheezed.

“Me too,” sighed Madeline.

“I've never stayed up until midnight,” managed Isabelle.

“Me neither,” said Madeline.

“It’s late. Time for bed,” I said.

They willingly complied. Still full of giggles and fun, Mary tucked them into bed. It wasn't long until they were asleep.

“Pretty smart,” Mary said when she rejoined me in the family room. “Why didn't you think of that when our kids were little?”

“I was just younger, I guess.” I answered.

“And you didn't mind staying up with them so late?” she asked.

“Maybe,” I answered.

“Well I am going to bed, too. I won't be waking you up in the morning, either.” she said.

Before I could even ask her, “Why?” she said, “I have heard it said that 'you should let a lying dog sleep!'”

“I think you mean, 'You should let a sleeping dog lie.'” I chuckled.

“Whatever.” she said.

I looked at my watch. It was 9:43 p.m.

“Happy New Year,” I answered.

Chuck Terrill, who has doctorates from Master Theological Seminary and Trinity Seminary, is the senior minister at First Christian Church in Cassville. He may be reached at 417-847-2460.