Always some hope with new year

Some passing thoughts as we near the completion of another journey around our sun Sunday at midnight and say goodbye to 2017 and celebrate the beginning of 2018. Throughout much of the world, the change of the year is cause for celebration and celebrants, some inebriated, and some wearing funny hats or eyeglasses will hug and kiss as the old years end and the new begins.

Objects of various types, ranging from balls, tangerines, sardine cans and pineapples will be dropped from a variety of heights and from a variety of structures. I once heard of an Erie County village where every New Year’s Eve a resident climbed a telephone pole and dropped his well-used basketball to a cheering crowd of enthusiastic residents standing below. I don’t know if the tale is true but I somehow think it is.

First organized by New York Times publisher Adolph Ochs in 1907 to ring in 1908, the Times Square Ball Drop has been held every year since except for the wartime years of 1942 and 1943. This year in Times Square more than 1 million people will stand herded by police into pens for hours as they wait for the ball to drop at midnight. Since no porta johns are in evidence I wonder how they do it. Obviously, it’s a case of mind and body over matter which is probably why you see few people my age in the crowd.

After 30 years of growth linked with the cities resurgence, Buffalo now lays claim to the second biggest ball drop in the United States. This year more than 40,000 hardy souls will be in attendance when a ball is dropped from the Electric Tower Building highlighted by a spectacular fireworks display.

My wife and I have been New Year’s Eve stay-at-homers for many years because the prospect of going out on a cold, snowy, rainy, foggy or just plain miserable night is not one we look forward to. Now as we get older there are even the years when we manage to sleep through the change of years.

Sadly, New Year’s Eve has not been the same since Guy Lombardo and His Royal Canadians were last televised from the Waldorf Astoria 40 years ago. The band’s version of Auld Lang syne set the standard for closing out the old year and now with Dick Clark gone these last five or six years is there really a reason to stay up?

Resolutions for the new Year? I don’t make them but as I look to the New Year there are several things that I do hope for. First, I hope that all politicians regardless of party will realize that their primary reason for holding office is to represent and to sometimes gently nudge the citizens they represent. A politicians first loyalty is to those they represent and not to party or party leadership. Politicians should also remember that when it comes to taxation and spending that they are really talking about the money that citizens have worked hard for and might even have more productive ways to spend than government does. I also hope that more politicians might follow the spirit of the founding fathers who saw politicians as citizens giving a few years to public service and then returning home to their normal pursuits..

Locally I hope to see more sharing of services by municipalities and further investigations of possible mergers by some municipalities. In addition, I think that it is time for local school districts to think seriously about mergers in order to provide our children with the best possible education at the best cost without further straining an already over strained tax base. While teachers, teachers’ unions and school boards say it’s all about the kids, in the past merger talks have often failed because of nostalgia for outdated educational structures or because of teachers and their unions out to protect jobs.

I also hope that 2018 will be the year when the thruway across the Seneca Nation Territory will be rebuilt so that travelers can be assured of a safe ride on that section of road. I hope that both sides can come to an agreement as soon as possible.

Finally I wish everyone a prosperous, successful and joyful New Years and if you do make resolutions I hope they will make your life better.

Thomas Kirkpatrick Sr. is a Silver Creek resident. Send comments to editorial@observertoday.com

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