And When the Clock Struck 12, I Turned Into A Pumpkin



Growing old comes by seasons or degrees. Like the flowers and leaves of nature outside, our bodies and our minds change; and we become different creatures, according to our seasons. Those differences are nowhere more obvious than on New Year’s Eve.


When I was a child, New Year’s Eve meant shooting fireworks. To this day, I love the smell of firecrackers and sparklers. Holding my wand of hot, twinkling magic, I would write my name and draw stars into the blue-black sky; and shooting Roman candles was the ultimate charge:

My Roman Candle Minute
by Jacki Kellum

Silent Night, No Moon Light,
I point my wand at space.

I light a match and watch it glow,
I plant my feet in place.

First, an ember gnaws the string.
Boom! Then One! Two! Three!

A Canopy of shooting stars
Arches over me.

Silent Night, No Moon Light,
A twist of smoke puffs now.

I’ve had my fun–
My star-struck gun–
My Sixty-Second Wow!

Copyright My Roman Candle Minute Jacki Kellum December 10, 2015

Soon, I traded my childhood fireworks for New Year’s Eve parties. By the time that I was 17, I was convinced that if I didn’t have a date and someone to kiss at midnight, I should crawl into a cave and hide there until January 2.

By the time that I was 30-years-old, I began having ambiguous feelings about New Year’s Eve and the proper way to celebrate it. My children were babies then. If I wanted to go out and party, I would need to find a babysitter who was willing to work past late, and I was married to someone who didn’t enjoy socializing and parties. I began staying home on New Year’s Eve, but there was an omnipresent, nagging voice telling me that I should be somewhere else–and doing something much more festive.

Those years merged into the days when my children became firework-shooting age. The smells of firecrackers and sparklers returned, and Roman candles arched across my lawn once more. Because my children were widely spaced in years, that period lasted for a while. Meanwhile, my ex-husband and I divorced. It became simpler to stay home on New Year’s Eve, but I still felt twinges of doubt about missing the party. I already realized that my home is where I preferred to be on New Year’s Eve, but didn’t They–the others around–expect more of me.

Time marched onward, and now, the carousel has spun almost around. I am 65-years old; my children have left home, and my grandchildren are far away. I have not gotten so timeworn that I tuck myself in by 8:00 pm, and I am usually wide awake at midnight. That was the case last night.

Promptly at midnight, my pre-teen neighbors began shooting their Roman candles. With a boom, a whistle, and a fizz, 2015 became 2016. I was propped up on my pillow, and my soft, cotton sheets were gathered around me. My quilt was pulled across my toes, and my dog was curled by my side. I sipped a glass of wine and smiled. Ahhhh! I had finally realized that the perfect way to celebrate the coming of a new year is safe and snug, at home.

I turned off my light and slept.

Tomorrow would be a whole new season.

Copyright Jacki Kellum January 1, 2016


Have a Jubilant January–Here’s to a Great New Year!

Stroke of Midnight


9 thoughts on “And When the Clock Struck 12, I Turned Into A Pumpkin

  1. Lots of people celebrate the new year like you: it is an inner experience for them, a time to reflect on the years rolling by. I still walk out into the garden on the stroke of midnight and ring a loud bell. “Ring out the old, ring in the new;ring out the false, ring in the true.” A glass of Chilean “champagne” (quite good) and share sea urchins with Cadbury my cat. Happy Neew Year, Caddie!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful painting of the trees. Such subtle and bright colors. What an accomplishment.

    I like the way you celebrated New Year’s this time. The dog, the wine, the neighbors’ fireworks. I agree. Sounds right.

    New Year’s Eve meant staying up late. And then I went through the if-I’m-alone-life-must-be-awful time. Lately, I am at my sister’s for the holiday. Her family and I have dinner with friends and then return to (her) home to toast the new with champagne (she and her husband have become adept at wine selection). All that does quite pleasantly.

    Thanks! I hope the start of your new year is going splendidly.


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