Tuesday, December 30, 2008


I love traditions. The family get-togethers on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve. Watching fireworks on the Fourth of July. Bears games in the fall. Trips to see family members in the summer. One of my oldest traditions is watching the ball drop on New Year's Eve.

That tradition started many years ago when I was a youngster. I was spending the night with my grandparents -- my Nanny and Happa as I called them. We ended up watching Guy Lombardo's orchestra [well, I mostly listened and played with my action figures]. Everything stopped as midnight and the New Year approached. We all watched the ball drop with the countdown to the New Year. That began a tradition that continues to this day.

In the early 70's, I started watching Dick Clark's Rocking New Year's Eve. I thought it was cool to see all the hot bands of the day kicking out their latest jams... and then the cut to Times Square in New York to watch the ball drop with the countdown to the New Year. As the years passed Dick Clark continued to host his Rocking New Year's Eve show. I grew up... finished high school... went to college... got married and Dick Clark was still bringing in the New Year from Times Square. I got a job teaching.... we had kids.. and Dick Clark continued to Rock in the New Year. When the boys were younger we would have their cousins for a sleepover on New Year's Eve. We'd make a day of it and then as the night settled in 'd set off fireworks. We'd watch some good tv [Twilight Zone Marathon] or movies and then it'd be time for Dick Clark to take us to Times Square for the drop of the ball.

My kids are grown now and it's been a few years since we've had the sleepovers with the cousins. But all over us, no matter where we are still tune in to check out the ball dropping in Times Square. Dick Clark suffered a stroke in 2004, and turned the main hosting job over to others -- the first year it was Regis Philbin and since then Ryan Seacrest. The stroke left Dick Clark with limited use of his right arm and some trouble speaking and yet he still appears on the show. You have to admire that. I guess Dick Clark loves traditions too.

No comments: