It is a Japanese custom to write with a writing brush on the second day of the year.
New Year’s Eve was always a special time for me as an older child.  I used to babysit with my best friend her little brother at her house. We were allowed to stay up until way past midnight, drink cola and eat chips! Something I was never allowed at home unless there was a party.    Her parents were having a New Year’s Eve “reveillons” with my parents at my home. About 30 seconds to midnight I would dial (in those days we had  rotary phones!) and wait until midnight before letting go of the last digit of my home phone number, to be the FIRST to wish my mom and dad Happy New Year’s.

Another race New Year’s for our family was to be the first to ask our father (grandfather in my mother’s case)  to be blessed for the new year.  I always felt extra special if I got to my dad before my sister. At my grandparents, however, all seven children knelt in the living room as my grandfather blessed them all ONCE. {My grandmother, actually took over this role when my grandfather died even if she was a woman.}

If there was not too much snow, we often went out behind my grandparents’ home to ice skate on the river.  Those were wonderful times when it was safe to do this as the winters were cold for many months, not like today where we get rain at Christmas.
I was saddened reading about Issa’s childrens’ passing so early in life.  But I am pleased he wrote poems of laughter and joyous times in their memory.

kodomora ga kitsune no mane mo susuki kana
the children
pretend to be foxes…
pampas grass
© Kobayashi Issa
New Year’s Eve
children playing with the fresh fallen snow -
fireworks coloring the sky
© Chèvrefeuille
 I will be writing in that youthful joyous vein.

Guy Lombardo
ringing in the New Year
got Mom first
Santa’s new skates
on the moonlit river
Dad blessed me first.
© Tournesol ’14/07/27