Christmas has more carols and songs than any other season. On Valentine's Day, the focus is on love songs and on Easter, it's joyful hymns. Around St. Patrick's Day, it's Irish music and on the Fourth of July, it's patriotic tunes. But on New Year's Eve, there's one song that is heard most often, a melody given words by Robert Burns back in the eighteenth century - Auld Lange Syne.
There are two versions, the original in broad Scots dialect and the more familiar English version. With my love for all things Celtic, I prefer Burn's lines.
It's a sentimental song, rich with reflection and since I've always found New Year's Eve to be a time to reflect back over the past year, it fits.
Auld Lange Syne roughly translates as "days gone by" or "for old times sake."
Although some may consider it a drinking song, for me it's a song about memories and ties, of times past. There's a line, "we've wandered many a weary foot since auld lang syne" that highlights that.
The song reminds me of another, much newer, "Seasons In The Sun" by Terry Jacks.
It is also poignant and about remembering the past.
"We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun" is the refrain.
It's New Year's Eve, a time of reflection for me this year but now more than ever.
As 2018 ended, I was a wife.
As 2019 ends, I am a widow.
My husband died on January 12, early in the year and that changed everything.
For me, it's been a bittersweet year in many ways.
Roy's absence at each holiday and milestone loomed large. It has been a journey, a personal pilgrimage to find my way with a new status quo.
As I move forward and heal, it's in baby steps. The holiday season threatened the progress I've made because almost everything evokes a memory.
It is those days of auld lang syne that haunt me now, our salad days when neither of us knew where life would take us. It is the remembered past and the solitary future ahead that evokes emotion.
2019 has been a year of changes at home and at work. As last year closed, I was a reporter, supported with a sports writer, and supervised by an editor. Now I fill all three roles for not one, but two newspapers. In recent weeks, I've begun writing fiction again in my almost non-existent spare time.
As I exit this year, change the calendar pages and move forward, one step at a time, I share these lines from Burns' pen:
"For auld lang syne, my jo,
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet,
for auld lang syne".
"Jo" translates as sweetheart or for me, it would be "babe".
But I'll take a cup of kindness yet, for old times sake and for new as I enter the uncharted territory of 2020.
-Lee Ann Sontheimer Murphy writes a weekly column, "A Writer's View" for The Neosho Daily News and The Aurora Advertiser. She is community editor for both, a published author and freelance writer.