I suppose on New Year’s Eve, every one of us at some time or another have sung the words to “Auld Lang Syne.” I’ll admit I have sung those words many times and never given much thought at all to exactly what those words really mean. This year I decided I would get a little bit better informed about what I would be singing.
The words to “Auld Lang Syne” were actually written by the Scottish poet Robert Burns in 1788 and were set to the tune of a traditional folk song. It has become a tradition in a lot of the English-speaking world to use “Auld Lang Syne” to bid farewell to the old year at the stroke of midnight. Some people even use it at funerals, graduations, etc. as a farewell or ending to the occasion. In many countries, the International Boy Scout youth movement uses it to close their jamborees and functions.
“Auld Lang Syne” can be translated as “old long since,” “long, long ago,” “old times” or “for (the sake of) old times.”
In looking back on the year of 2016, I have had many happy memories and then some not-so-happy memories. I’m sure that could be said for all of us in any given year of our lives. Sometimes I think it would be nice to be a child again and not have to worry about anything other than the grade I made on a test at school or whether or not a friend is speaking to me today. Those things seem so important at the time, but don’t really matter so much in the long run. Whether we are 5 or 95, we just have to learn to roll with the punches. As they say in the words of the song: “I never promised you a rose garden. Along with the sunshine, there’s gotta be a little rain some time.”
In January of 2016, my mother-in-law passed away. Of course, that was a very sad occasion for us who knew and loved her. It was also a happy occasion because we knew that she was no longer in pain and we had no doubt that she is now in a place called Heaven. We still miss her but we don’t miss seeing her confined to a bed because of paralysis of her earthly body. When I think of her now, I want to remember her making cookies with my grandchildren and telling everybody that I wasn’t her daughter-in-law but instead I was her daughter-in-love. She was a very special lady and was always especially nice to everyone she met.
Something else that happened in 2016 that stands out in my mind is the fact that I broke my arm in two places — on my daughter’s birthday, of all days. I suppose that is why I can remember the date it happened, even when sometimes I can’t remember other people’s names.
Our three granddaughters were staying with us while our daughter, her husband and our grandson were on a mission trip to Peru. We were also keeping the two grand dogs, one of which is a Great Pyrenees and weighs around 125 pounds. His favorite place to sleep seemed to be right outside the bedroom door. Let me tell you, our house is small anyway but with five people in it, plus two dogs, it seemed to shrink right before our very eyes. It seemed to be become about the size of a kid’s playhouse.
One day when the girls were at practice at Children’s Theatre, my husband and I planned to make some red slaw (or fish camp slaw). We started gathering all the ingredients together and then I headed back towards the bedroom to put something up. The Great Pyrenees was napping — laying right in the doorway to the bedroom. I tried to step over him but I stepped right on his tail instead. He didn’t move a move a muscle as I tried my best to regain my balance. His tail seemed to be as slick as a piece of glass.
I tried to catch myself, but somehow, I hit my left arm against the wall and then the floor as I fell. I immediately started hollering because I heard my arm pop. My husband didn’t know what to do as I stood there screaming and holding my left arm with my right arm. He asked: “What did you do?” I told him I was sure I had broken my left arm. He helped me get into the car and off we sped to the E.R. where I found out my humerus was broken in two places. I’ll have to say that it was not humorous to me at the time. I’ve tried to be thankful though that I didn’t break my fool neck!
One thing is for sure: the older you get, the harder it is to deal with broken bones. Back when I broke my wrist when I was 12, I only had to wear a cast for six weeks. The hardest part for me then was seeing that guy coming at me with a saw to cut the cast off. I thought there was absolutely no way that he could cut it off my arm without cutting me along with it. I’ll admit I was shaking in my boots.
Overall, I’ll have to say that 2016 was a good year. Getting to see Disney World again with my grandchildren was great and a memory that I’ll always cherish. We had a wonderful Christmas, also — with way too much food, but lots of good times with family and friends.
Hope you had good memories to dwell on as you sang: “For auld lang syne, my dear For auld lang syne, We’ll take a cup of kindness yet, For auld lang syne.”
Azalea R. Bolton is a resident of Richmond County, member of the Story Spinners of Laurinburg and a member of the Richmond and Anson County Historical Societies.