New Year’s eve should never steal by quietly.

The celebration of another year calls for loud lights and bright sounds.

I think the first change-over in my memory was with grandparents, who lived a half-mile west of Taylor’s Ridge.

There was so little sound pollution one could yell eastward and hear the echo.

That night boys and men set off fireworks and the echo bounced from ridge to hill up and down that valley as thunder does today.

In the South Georgia communities where I grew up there was enough ambient light from street lights and homes that you had to leave town to get a decent glimpse of stars. even out of town there was only a tease of them..

I scratch this note to you from middle America, Kansas. Here it is easy to find a spot a mile from the nearest artificial light and after a suitable time of allowing eyes to adjust the canopy of stars is reminiscent of sugar spilled on black velvet.

This year, 2021, slipped by me like a kitten, with no more sound than the sigh of a sleeping infant.

Leaning back on the hood of my rental car for stability and warmth the stars became visible slowly as if from shyness. First the brightest, then airplanes passing through the icy air, a satellite, and within a half-hour the sky was majestic.

I’ve been in some interesting places on New Year’s eve including stuck in a muddy ditch on a rainy night. I failed to measure a turn on a clay county road and slid perfectly into the far ditch.

That night we waited for help to come while Guy Lombardo’s orchestra kept our spirits up with familiar music.

Help came in the form of a friend in a Jeep with a wench. By that time there was nothing to do but go home and try to explain our appearance.

I understand there used to be some pretty wild times in Enosdale, Kansas.

There isn’t much left of “Beautiful Downtown Enosdale” but a lot of memories. This year they didn’t bother with the muddy truck parade or the old guy blowing a bugle at midnight.

Enosdale is not far from Cuba, Kansas, just across the county line.

Cuba is a sweet and determined little town. It was named for the thriving economic powerhouse less than a hundred miles south of Key West.

The residents of Cuba, Kansas, however, have nothing in common with folks on the socialist island nation.

There is much more to say about Cuba, Kansas, Bohemians, food and music. We’ll try to touch on that soon.

The New Year’s eve light show I enjoyed began millions of light years ago. They were the same pin-pricks that hovered over pioneers on the Oregon Trail and kept the Kansas Woman’s pioneer ancestors company as they migrated from Wisconsin into the lower Midwest.

You don’t have to go to Beautiful Downtown Enosdale at night to see the stars but you need to go for some reason.

Joe Phillips writes his “Dear me” columns for several small newspapers. He has many connections to Walker County, including his grandfather, former superintendent Waymond Morgan. He can be reached at joenphillips@hotmail.com.

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