In the morning Dad would drag out a humongous blue kettle usually reserved to cook lobsters in, he’d cover the bottom with oil and cook what seemed to us kids like mountains of popcorn. The popcorn would fill 5 or 6 brown paper shopping bags that he would line up on the dinning room table with a big satisfied smile.
Dad would spend his New Years Eve with his buddies at the Legion Hall getting smashed but he always cooked the popcorn, it was his contribution to parenting and the kids New Years Eve party.
Shortly after dinner our door bell would ring and the neighborhood kids would stream in carrying toys and sleeping bags. Everyone loved getting to sleep over and stay up to ring in the New Year with horns and hats, but the biggest thing was making popcorn balls with sticky sweet caramel or maple syrup.
Our party had both boys and girls sleeping over with the eagle eyed older sisters in the role of chaperone’s. Everyone knew the older girls had control and we stayed in line for fear of red pepper or worse being dumped in our mouths. I had to be extra good because I was the host but mostly because my sister was just waiting for me to step out of line so she could make her little brother the nights example.
Once the popcorn balls were made we would play games and listen to scary stories from my sister and her friends. Soda, lemonade, cookies, brownies and chips were brought out around 10:30 and we dove in knowing on this night we could eat all we wanted, some kids said it was better then Halloween. Just picture it 25 eleven and twelve year old kids eating all they wanted and you can bet the teenage chaperones joined right in.
Midnight came with sustained hoots and shoots shaking the house to the foundation, we ran and jumped over furniture played tag and wrestled and yes a couple of lucky kids got their first kiss before the teenage harpies came swooping in with their red pepper shakers making sure it was only one kiss.
Happy New Years Everyone.