It wasn't the strangest new year party I'd ever been invited to—that would be the great Pudding Cook Off of 2008—but it was certainly up there. Uncle Dan had finalized his divorce on Christmas Eve, a service of the county clerk's “Wanna Really Feel Like Crap This Year?” division. Uncle Dan, however, did not feel crappy—he felt jubilant. He had married a younger woman named Debbie. The family chose not to comment on Dan's decision to commit to a woman barely 30—he being in his mid 50s—but we all had a feeling it wouldn't last long. I'm pleased to say I won the pool at 2 years, one month.
Dan decided he wished to throw a big “Welcome back to Bachelorhood” party on New Year's Day. He took me aside at the family's Christmas Eve gathering to ask if I would help him go over the details. I'm glad he did, as all he had on his list was to eat barbecue, followed by burning down a wooden effigy of Debbie. Instead I suggested we make it a nice BBQ eatin' gatherin'. It was pretty much a nice loud wake for his marriage.
Early January first, I found myself over at Dan's helping him cook. Dan was in a great mood all morn, and I think he set a new personal record by going though a six pack of Sam Adams before noon. This was the happiest I had seen him in a good long while, he kept talking about what a great turn this was for him. The family all arrived around three, and as they gathered, Dan handed out drinks while I finished setting up the buffet.
Once everyone had arrived, Dan decided that he wished to make a small speech before everyone ate. Dan stood up in front of everyone on his wide hearth, and began talking. “I want to thank everyone for coming today, but first let me wish you all a very Happy New Year! I hope this year brings much joy and prosperity to us all. Today, we close the Debbie chapter of my life, and we open the pages on the next. I'm glad Debbie was in my life for the period of time she was, but it's best that we are no longer...”
Dan started to trail off, and stare off into the distance. “DEBBIE!!!” Dan cried out, and ran out the patio doors and into his backyard. In the Ross clan, emotional outbursts are nothing new, so as we all watched my Uncle have a nervous breakdown, there was a pause. This was followed by everyone making their way over to the buffet. We ate, and no one thought to check on Uncle Dan—who eventually came to senses around midnight.
It was one hell of a way to say hello the new year. Dan got a little therapy, and the family got some barbecue. As we sit here looking at the start of a new year, let me be the first to wish you a grand one! Here's my hopes for better year for us all! Cheers!