January 2, 2008 @ 12:13 am by sean
There was no TV at the cabin so no ball was watched in dropping. I didn’t even realize it was midnight yet when someone mentioned it, and quickly after What should we do? was asked. The response was for popcorn prayer, and by the time the smile fully formed on my face from initially not thinking Aaron was serious instantly turned into a smile of ‘that’s the greatest way to end/begin a year ever.’ How have I never thought of that before?
The entire evening made for one of the most remarkable year ending/beginning celebrations of my life. The favorites of all the family at Craig and Diane’s playing Pictionary are long since passed, and since it has been typically not-quite-as-significant events since. This was quite refreshing, in a few ways.
The cabin was in Elizabeth, Illinois, close to Stockton, but really in the middle of farmland and trees. We walked for probably an hour or more through the snow because the snow was so deep the car couldn’t get there. In fact, it was so deep we couldn’t even find the drive way and walked in circles for a before accidentally finding it. The farmland was of the rolling type so we weren’t even sure initially which way to walk to find the cabin we could not see. We is Chris, Megan, and Kevin. Fantastic company for such an adventure, and my connection to enabling me on this adventure. The cabin belonged to a family they new from Willow.
We arrived and quickly went out into the snow to play. I’ve been waiting for weeks to do this. A year and weeks really. I don’t think I’ve played in the snow since November ’06 with Jess and Angie. Eventually Lynn and Dana came. More people from Chris and Kevin’s past. They brought their stuff through the snow on sleds instead of carrying it like we did. Which meant we then had sleds. Which meant we then went sledding. I got to know a little bit of Lynn while trudging through the deep snow for sledding. She is recently back from some time in Columbia and the DR.
We got back and I met Amy (one of the daughters of the cabin owners) and her boyfriend Greg. And then Annie (the other daughter) and their friends Aaron and Ryan. Megan and I were the only one’s who didn’t know anyone, and Aaron, Ryan, Kevin, and Chris had never met. So we socialized for a while. Laughed at their memories. Amy and Annie are nearly always smiling. I want to be one of those people. It’s like their mouths – and their disposition in general – is incessantly at the moment of anticipation of something being humorous. When someone is telling a story, for example, and you know it is going to make you chuckle so you set your face in preparation for it.
We ate at an augustly massive wooden table in the basement. It sat us all in comfort. The food itself was conventional, potatoes, chips, salad for me; this plus steak for the others. But that we shared a meal together in such a manner was glorious. There is hardly anything I enjoy more than sharing meals with others. It is a shame so few, if any, of my friends seem to be similarly inclined, and I have such little finances to extend an invitation for a meal. Preparing a meal for or with someone, or prepared by and then shared is all I need. I don’t need TVs or movies or really any effort to entertain me. Give me food around a table and conversation naturally follows. At that point all is complete. The meal could be incredibly simple or elaborate. Even the set up and clean up are delightful, because it is the engaging in something with someone I love that is what I want. That friends can casually or/and formally share a meal has splendid implications for the state of that friendship.
Socializing continued after dinner. We played a silly game. Everyone was pleasantly wholesome and good natured – maybe even civilized? Increasing my wholesome content and smiles are goals. There was a distinct lack of vulgarities, perversion, and drunkenness; three things I’ve become increasingly chafed by. They are directly opposed to my wholesome intentions, and they seem to be mainly worthless and destructive anyway.
My new friends seemed to be really ‘christian’ too. I’m not sure how else to describe it. But just as if it seemed Amy and Annie were ready to smile and laugh, they were ready and unashamed to talk about something related to God and christianity or do something ‘christian’ like pray to ring in the new year instead of the aforementioned vices. It was refreshing to be in the environment they created. Judson was sometimes something like that.
Shortly after the praying stopped, Kevin, Chris, and I triumphantly returned to the hill around 12:45 for more sledding. Sledding in the middle of nowhere at the witching hour on a cloudy night is magnificent.
We returned and found most in bed, and a few of us sat quietly near the fire with little conversation. Eventually Chris and I were the only remaining awake for some nice conversation. Then we slept. Then we woke and had banana crêpe-ish pancakes. Then we lounged. Then we left. The drive/road had since been plowed and we got a ride back to the car. Then it was over.
And I return to a state of not knowing when I will see Kevin again.