Last night Carol and I went out on New Year's Eve for the first time in at least fifteen years.
I remember ushering in the year 2000. It was a big deal but we did it at home. Had a fabulous meal and watched the new year arrive in many countries around the world, time zone after time zone.
I know we haven't gone out since so it has been at least fifteen years.
Last night we went to Jason's fun house in the woods and had a spectacular night. A goddamn blast.
Five minutes after we got there Jason said : "Joe - let's take a ride on my snowmobiles."
I haven't been on a snow sled for forty years.
I did not hesitate. He gave me quick instructions, then hopped on his and I followed him.
Powering through the woods at a decent clip, in the dark, in the cold I felt unbelievably alive. Powerfully, excitedly, happily alive.
Came back to the cottage and settled in for some drinking, eating and game playing with a crew of people (much younger than us) who are fun, insane, energetic and cool.
What a blast.
Shortly before 9:00 we all bundled up and headed down to the lake. Jason had put together a fireworks display that he transported in his truck.
We stood around enjoying the fun and beauty of his fireworks in a spectacularly beautiful and peaceful setting.
Back to the cottage for more games and laughter and camaraderie.
Ushering in the new year was informal, but cool. No TV to watch the ball drop so Jason monitored the proceedings on his tablet and gave us the countdown.
At midnight I kissed the woman who has been by my side for 37 years. The woman formerly known as Carol Sargent.
This woman who means so much to me. This woman who has been through everything with me, both good and bad, and has come out the other side of it all still by my side, still impossibly positive and strong.
No better way to experience the first few seconds of 2016.
Everyone wished me a happy birthday.
I cannot lie to you, I love it when that happens and it is one thing I do miss about not going out on New Year's Eve.
Everyone yells happy new year, then they wish me a happy birthday.
I consider my birthday to be a special day, more so than usual, because of the day it falls on.
January 1 is a very cool day to have a birthday.
Anyway, last night was spectacular. Fun, different, exciting - it made us laugh, it made us feel alive.
I am thinking that 2016 is going to be one hell of a year for me and Carol.