I haven’t been crazy about New Year’s Eve parties since a boyfriend dumped me at 11 p.m. on December 31st, 1975. Doug was his name. He worked for Northrop in Saudi Arabia. After a fight at the Northrop dinner dance he drove me back to the Aramco compound and left me on the doorstep. I never saw him again. I still have painful memories of what led up to the fight; it started before Christmas, and if anyone wants to hear the story, I’ll post it here next year.
Since that night, I’ve always toasted the British New Year (6 p.m. Central Time) and been fast asleep by midnight. An exception was December 31st, 2000, when John and I rang in 2001 drinking with friends and eating pistachio nuts. That year I landed in hospital twice (nothing to do with the pistachio nuts).
Well, I gave it another chance last night, and went to the Mucky Duck‘s New Year’s Eve party. Jack Saunders was playing, along with Rick Poss (picture by Everett) of the Dead End Angels, and Kimberley Kyle. There was also a drummer and a bass guitarist whose names I did not catch (if they ever were announced). The menu was leek and potato soup, followed by pear and parmesan cheese salad, followed by a choice of roasted salmon or steak, followed by dessert, followed by ‘free’ champagne at midnight. At $85 per person it seemed rather steep, but we went. By “we”, I mean John, Everett (his son visiting from California), Callie and Kevin.
It was a good evening with good company. On the negative side, it was quite a squash. Our table was attached to a party of nine, although we were fortunately right next to the stage. The music was not the good ol’ Texas music we were expecting, but a series of oldies (Beatles, etc.). And they ran out of chocolate mousse. I had to settle for the lemon tart.
On the positive side, the food was excellent and we had fun. I even saw Kevin wearing one of the party hats for a brief moment.
Now for the weird part. I turned to the person sitting on my left (one of the party of nine) to break the ice briefly, and asked him what induced him to shell out $85 and come to the Mucky Duck on New Year’s Eve. The Mucky Duck is not renowned for serving gourmet cuisine and the usual shows are $10. He looked at me and said, “I know you. You worked in Saudi Arabia.”
No, it wasn’t Doug, but it was someone I remembered well. I used to play on the same softball team with his wife. He introduced me to his son sitting opposite, and when I inquired after Sue (name changed here — I don’t know why, but I’ve changed it anyway), he told me she’d died. Talk about a conversation stopper.
It was a strange evening. There I was sitting next to him and didn’t have a clue what to say. We were in different parties and I wasn’t sure whether he’d want to go over old times (i.e. 1975 through 1985). I decided to concentrate on the music and my own friends, and got on with the New Year’s Eve celebrations. The whole evening, though, I was having flashbacks to those eleven years. I thought about Doug a lot too, and wondered what he was doing. The last I’d heard about him was that he’d had to leave Saudi Arabia in a hurry because his ex-wife had mailed him scotch in a Clorox bottle with a tiny pin prick. Apparently it smelt really good by the time it arrived at the Saudi Post Office.
Anyway, I’m rambling here. The day is almost over and I still have to write about the Grand Opening of the Downtown Houston Light Rail, which is where we’ve been all day.
Happy New Year to all Habershons and other Habershons.com readers. Yes, even you lurkers who won’t register!