Happy New Year!
I suppose, depending on when you get your paper, you are either getting ready for New Years Eve, or getting over New Years Eve.
I like New Years Eve. But I hate that midnight stuff. Years ago it wasn’t so bad. Dance and visit and just have a grand old time. At midnight everybody whooped and hollered and threw confetti and shook noisemakers and toasted the New Year. Everybody kissed everybody and wished him or her a Happy New Year.
Which is fine and dandy. If you are young. But when you spend all year going to bed at eight or nine o’clock, midnight comes awfully late. Alvin used to say that for him, Hollywood Squares (6:30) was late night TV. Last year we made it up to New Hradec. And I’m sure leaning that way again.
But all that talk about hugging and kissing reminded me of a story. I guess it happened down on the river south of Watford. Or north of Grassy Butte.
There was this homesteader who settled on the banks of the Little Missouri. It was a tough life. No neighbors. Just a couple horses, a few cattle, a crippled dog, and a few magpies to keep him company.
One day he noticed an axe hewn log come floating down the river. Since he hadn’t seen anyone for months, this sparked a bit of interest. Figuring he must have a neighbor upstream somewhere, he saddled up Old Brown and headed up river.
He’d ridden a pretty good part of the day when he came across this homestead shack. There was smoke coming out of the stovepipe so he gave a holler and waited. This old boy came out of the cabin and greeted him with a big smile. Invited him in for coffee and some grub. They had a good visit and just after dark, our rancher tightened the cinch on Old Brown and mounted up.
The new homesteader asked what he was doing a week from Saturday. The rancher said he didn’t have any plans, so the homesteader said, “Come on back. I’m having a party that night. There’s going to be a big meal. Then a little drinking. A little dancing. Maybe a little fighting. Then some more dancing. And maybe even a little loving.”
This first old boy hadn’t seen anyone for months, so this excited him. “What shall I bring,” he asked?
“Don’t make too much difference,” said the homesteader, “Just going to be you and me.”
Happy New Year! Dean
Dean Meyer is a former state legislator and currently ranches in southwest North Dakota. He has been a featured columnist around the state for many years.