Three days ago the calendar page flipped over and we were all presented with a new year, 1987. And every year we all say, "Well, I'm certainly glad to see that one go. The next one has to be better."
It's too easy to forget the good things about poor old threadbare 1986. It had its share of bright blue days, silver rains, winds sweeping the world clean of dust and smog. Each year we blame the poor old year for everything that was tedious, painful, wrong.
Sure, lots of it was but, honey, it always is, because man is a higgledy-piggledy creature with a lot of our own troubles built in. We all plow along, carrying our own snail's shell full of troubles, thinking that we are the only ones so beset, weighed down with taxes and allergies and dead batteries, kids who play left half and have three earring holes in each ear.
Everyone has his own personal hair shirt, custom-tailored and guaranteed to last a lifetime. None of us are special, although, surely your taxes didn't go up as far as mine--and just for adding that telephone booth of a room, for heaven's sake.
Because we're all in this together, from the Afghanistan goatherd to the crew in the Situation Room. So a friendly word and a friendly hand are still the best devices to carry on our shields.
We have advanced time and travel so Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager can make it around the world without stopping for fuel, and it came just when we were in deep need of a little pride for Christmas. We can send messages around the world and bouncing from star to star easier than we can push the buttons on a telephone. Television often tells us more than we want to know about what new idiocy has proven that man has a free will. Communication happens faster than we can pronounce the word.
But the toughest kind of communication, the kind for which we haven't broken the silence barrier, is that between us and the people next door. Make this the year we say, "Hello, friend," to him as he slips out to pick up the morning paper in his white terry-cloth Christmas robe. He may even smile and answer back.
Right this minute, I can hear the bass drum booming against the Linda Vista hills as either the bands from Michigan or Arizona State practice what they hope will be the victory march. For you, I wish you a happy new year and may all the music you hear this year be a victory march.
May spring be early and gentle, turning the hills green and may you see a jade dragonfly stitching the ruffles of a mountain creek together.
And in April, may you hear from an old love, the one in insurance in Cleveland, and may he use the same words he used that spring night, junior year. It doesn't matter if it was just moonlight dialogue then and still is. It's lambent on an ear numbed by listening to the reading of computer printouts.
May summer be full of beach barbecues, yellow tennis balls against green courts, kids growing tan and may the dog shake most of the sand outside.
May fall be full of red and gold leaves and wild heather on the hills and may your team win the Rose Bowl, especially if they didn't this year.
A happy New Year to all of you. We wish it for the fat and the thin, the tardy and the punctual, the people who love dogs and the man who calls the poor cops when one barks, to doctors who deliver babies, save kids, administer placebos to those of us a little daft. To gardeners, and to glass blowers, sign painters and insurance adjusters, to people who work in hardware stores and gas stations, to dentists and orthopedic surgeons.
I hope New Year's Eve found you with your hand in that of a friend. And I hope you raised a cup to those who didn't make the duty roster this year although they would have if they could. To those with whom you have shared other New Year's Eves, a moment of warm remembrance.
Happy, happy, everyone, and may the world attain the peace and that God-given dignity, which is the right of every man. Toss the glass in the fireplace. May this be the best year of your life.