I stopped at Sprouts on New Year's Eve and left with a pound of boiled shrimp. The significance didn't hit me till I got home, unwrapped the package and started eating this longtime favorite treat of mine.
When I was growing up, cold, boiled shrimp signified New Year's Eve as much as black-eyed peas and resolutions. It was my brothers' and sisters' and my favorite part of our parents' New Year's Eve party...one of the few kid-friendly offerings we could nab when nobody was looking.
The parties were legendary. People (some invited, some not) danced. Champagne flowed. People danced because champagne flowed. The dignified SMU dean who lived down the block walked his wife home...then appeared at our front door after making sure she was asleep. On many a New Year's Day, we'd find party-goers in the bushes, sleeping off the previous evening's frivolity.
Tonight, I eat my shrimp and think about those parties, wondering when and why they ended. Only in retrospect do I realize what irreverently raucous evenings those were...ones that, depending on my mood and my level of loneliness, I'd kind of like being part of.
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