New Year’s Day
By Jacob Hatcher
New Year’s weekend found my family and me in Colbert County, Alabama, a place that to me is nearly as much home as the slice of land on which I was raised just outside of Nashville. Like the early church in Acts, we broke bread and ate together with glad and sincere hearts. As good southern folks want to do, we told the same old stories we’ve all heard a million times and laughed as though we had never heard them before. As my children opened presents and ate cake, I looked all around me at the pictures on the walls and it was as if a younger me were haunting myself, watching as new memories unfolded, escorted by the old memories to the deep recesses of my mind like a guardian angel escorting it’s charge to the pearly gates. I stood in my Grandmother’s living room peering at the Christmas ornaments glowing in the dim light tree lights; I sat in my Uncle Mark’s kitchen and read Naval discharge papers written in 1914. The whole weekend felt as though Auld Lang Syne were written about this very gathering as we drank our fill of sweet tea and reminisced about old acquaintances and lost loved ones. While the sun began to set on New Year’s Day, my wife Jaime and I went for a short walk through the tall grass of the pasture that served as a playground to me in my youth. Our daughter came running behind us, and her brothers threw rocks into the pond, laughing as they challenged one another to make a bigger splash. I found myself being completely refreshed by spending the first day of the new year in an old place. I have found that there’s something about looking back that helps me look toward; something about embracing who I once was in order to be who I now want to be. And as I look forward to this next year, I just pray that the ghost of myself will one day be proud of where we go from here.