A cherished friend, One-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named, broke bread with us on Christmas Eve, and shared the gift that keeps on giving–the nastiest cold germ I’ve ever made personal acquaintance with. By Christmas night, my throat was scratchy, and it was all downhill from there. The next day Bea was felled. The day after, Eli. My brother Lew, who spent the holiday with us, left to suffer in the privacy of his own home. A week later, on New Year’s Eve Eve we were still in no shape to host the hobbit party we had planned. I rescheduled with family friends, but Bea asked if she could still have just a small handful of her friends over. I said, yes, but only if they knew they were coming at their own risk. So we did a little decorating, a little shopping, a little food prep, a little dress up, and we were ready to party in quarantine.
Eli and I were chief cook and bottle washer, but we dressed up too. Then, like dwarves showing up unannounced at Bilbo’s hobbit hole, the guests began to arrive. They came in ones…
Oh, yeah, and in most interesting and unexpected twosomes!
As midnight drew near, there was only one task left to do. Mama hobbit began to prepare the Boston Coolers, an ancient custom practiced by native Detroiters and their offspring, to toast the New Year. It is a delicate concoction of Vernors ginger ale, not Canada Dry or any other pale substitute. Only Vernors, aged in wood, and deftly mixed with vanilla ice cream. Try it sometime, but you must promise not to settle for anything less than real Vernors!
Cheers! Bottoms up! Skumps! Happy New Year!
Then, just as suddenly as they came…well, actually it was four hours later…the mysterious guests slipped out of the door…
…and melted into the night.
The moral of the story is this: When a friend comes knocking, and you are tempted to go back to bed with a hot water bottle…open your door to the possibilities. Even if you think you aren’t up to it, chances are you might be glad you did.
May the New Year bring you peace, health, happiness, and just enough adventure to keep you on your toes!
All words and images copyright Naomi Baltuck