Blogging Along the Brandywine

When I taught at the Upland School (a private school north
of Kennett Square) back in the ‘80s, the children in the lower and upper
schools continued the old English custom of saying “Rabbit-Rabbit” upon waking on the first day of each new
month to assure good luck.

Even Robin
Roberts on Good Morning America says “Rabbit-Rabbit.”

And to utter
Rabbit-Rabbit on the first day of the new year was held virtually sacrosanct. Now,
to my way of thinking, if school children (and Robin Roberts) realize the
importance of beginning a new year bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready to begin
anew, why do some so-called adults choose to enter the new year kneeling in
front of the proverbial porcelain bowl with a head about ready to explode from
the effects of too much alcohol the night before?

Oh geez, here I go pontificating again…sorry.

Because of one of my earlier positions with the Mendenhall
Hotel, Conference Center and Inn, before I was afforded the peace of my present
day micro-office, I had the dubious privilege of being at the desk on New Years
Eve and to observe many of the Brandywine Valley elite wearing dumb party hats
and acting even dumber.

For although they may think they appear witty, grown men
look embarrassingly absurd with their wives’ silver cardboard tiaras askew on
their heads, buzzing into little kazoo– horns and yelling “Happy New Year.”

And don’t even get me started about women I’ve watched at
those big-name Brandywine Valley company holiday parties. If you ever wonder
why you keep hitting that corporate glass ceiling, out-of-control party girl,
I’ll give you a little hint.

“OK, so what about you, Sally Jane,” you may ask?It’s a fair
question.

For about a decade I attended Quaker Meeting in the historic
Birmingham Friends Meeting. Its liberal principles and practices allowed
personal introspection as well as exploration into aspects of other faiths.

So although I was brought up in the Christian faith, I found
New Years Eve beckoned me back to the older traditions where the coming of the
new year emphasized a closer relationship between God and man instead of our
separateness.

The opportunity of a new year holds so many wonders and
blessing why waste it?

Granted, there are the years we would like to expunge from
our lives–the ones that held unexpected sadness, illness or loss. But it was
those years that forged the steel that strengthened us or conversely shook the
daylights out of us to show us we had somehow taken the wrong path.

And there are other years that bring us wondrous and
unexpected surprises and joy.

So I’ll be ringing in the New Year in my ’jammies in front
of a warm fireplace with a small flute of Champagne and someone I love.

In the mean time, please drive carefully and be responsible
tonight.

A new year is a most precious gift…and so is your life.

Happy New Year Chadds Ford!

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About Sally Denk Hoey

Sally Denk Hoey, is a Gemini - one part music and one part history. She holds a masters degree cum laude from the School of Music at West Chester University. She taught 14 years in both public and private school. Her CD "Bard of the Brandywine" was critically received during her almost 30 years as a folk singer. She currently cantors masses at St Agnes Church in West Chester where she also performs with the select Motet Choir. A recognized historian, Sally serves as a judge-captain for the south-east Pennsylvania regionals of the National History Day Competition. She has served as president of the Brandywine Battlefield Park Associates as well as the Sanderson Museum in Chadds Ford where she now curates the violin collection. Sally re-enacted with the 43rd Regiment of Foot and the 2nd Pennsylvania Regiment for 19 years where she interpreted the role of a campfollower at encampments in Valley Forge, Williamsburg, Va., Monmouth, N.J. and Lexington and Concord, Mass. Sally is married to her college classmate, Thomas Hoey, otherwise known as "Mr. Sousa.”

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