Worth Keeping

J0309665 The passing of the old year into the new year has always fascinated me.  The thought that it can be 2007 one second and 2008 the next–well, something about that seems nearly mystical. 

I was so amazed by this phenomenon that in 1984, shortly before midnight, I took an old pickle jar and scooped it through the air around me.  Then I slammed the lid shut, screwed it on tightly, and wound yards of masking tape around the neck.  I held in my hands The Year Of Our Lord Nineteen Eighty Four, hermetically sealed for all time.  I suppose my 12th year had been a good one, and I thought the day might come when I’d need to go back and sniff it. 

I had a very large closet in my girlhood home, the sort of closet where random keepsakes like fire batons and homecoming corsages and jarred air could multiply at will.  The air of 1984 gradually became buried under other equally sentimental notions, and it wouldn’t resurface again until shortly before my wedding, in 1994.  I was sorting through some old keepsakes, and the old jar rolled out of its place. 

I looked at it for a few moments and thought of 1984.  I thought of Final Net hairspray and orthodontia and President Reagan and Square Pegs.  Smiling at my youthful sentimentality (since I was, by then, a wise old woman of 21), I ripped off the seal and took a sniff.  As it turns out, 1984 smelled a lot like pickles. 

There’s not really any point to this story, except to laugh and acknowledge that the passing of the year is momentous for those of us with sentimental tendencies.  Here’s wishing you many good things (and even better non-things) in 2008.  I pray it’s a year so wonderful that you want to stick it in a jar for all time.

Happy new year, friends.

57 thoughts on “Worth Keeping

  1. jen says:

    What a great story..and yes I’m laughing…pickles…me and my 2 year old son are eating dill pickle chips right now…..Happy new Year Shannon….I have thoroughly enjoyed reading you this year.

  2. Melissa says:

    “Here’s wishing you many good things (and even better non-things) in 2008. I pray it’s a year so wonderful that you want to stick it in a jar for all time.”
    From your lips to God’s ears. Happy New Year!

  3. pj says:

    Love the Jarred air!!! Life holds moment like that — when we just want to bottle the moment, the magic, the memory and hold it for all time. Back at you: “I pray it’s a year so wonderful that you want to stick it in a jar for all time!”

  4. Fresh Girl says:

    I’m pretty sure if I were to capture the air from 2007 in a jar and open it ten years later, it would smell something like rotten eggs rolled in baby powder.
    It’s been a year of ups and downs to say the least! 😉

  5. Melanie says:

    Since she was about three, my daughter has said that her sweaty feet smell like pickles. So for us, 1984 would smell like feet.
    Happy New Year, Shannon!

  6. Laura says:

    Since I was a much wiser 14 year old, I was using Aqua Net, hot rollers, and entering the world of high school. Aww, good years of the Reagans and just say no to drug campaigns. Memories…..the years of big haired metal bands and Wham and Duran Duran. It was really a decade around hair, wasn’t it.

  7. Melissa Markham says:

    What a fun story! And Fiddledeedee is right…you could have sold that jar on Ebay….probably would go for big bucks!
    I used to always send down and read all of my journals from years past in the wanning days of the year. But time for that retrospective sentimentality doesn’t exist anymore.

  8. Edi says:

    Being from a family of 5 girls w/very straight, thin hair (well except when it was permed to the max) – I know all about Final Net!
    Square Pegs – we enjoyed watching that too. Seems like it was pretty short lived wasn’t it?

  9. Jenn says:

    Happy New Year!
    Somewhere along the way I lost my sentimentality for a new year. Maybe I should bottle up 2007 – just for good measure – and someday let C breathe in the year she learned to talk, argue, tantrum, hug me, play pretend, learn to sled, and other various exciting 2 year old things.
    She’ll probably just smell pickles 🙂

  10. Ornery's Wife says:

    I’m not sure I was ever so sentimental that I wanted to save a year, but if I had, I am pretty sure it wouldn’t have been in a pickle jar. 🙂
    Happy happy New Year to you and your family. I am looking forward to a GREAT 2008!

  11. Jenni says:

    Loved this post. I think 1984 would have smelled, for me, like mountains and fjords and rain (I lived in Norway at the time).
    I’m older than you! I turned 16 in 1984!

  12. Melissa says:

    Oh, yes! I used to bring sand home from every beach trip and keep it in airplane barf bags. My mom was pleased to find those in 1997. Love the post! Happy New Year!

  13. Leslie says:

    Now swooping a jar through the air is definitely an original…I tried the same thing but with dirty socks…didn’t turn out quite as romantic. Heavy sigh.
    Happy New Year!

  14. amy a says:

    You are such a great writer. I’m glad I found your blog last year, and I’m looking forward to more in 2008!

  15. Heather@mommymonk says:

    Oh you are such a sentimental girl – trying to hold on to the air of the past and capture the years of youth. I love it – I wish I had thought of it. Except I’d take a cleaned out bottle of baby powder and capture the last year of having babies. And I’m guessing it will still smell good 10 years from now!

  16. dana says:

    That is too funny. Sounds like something I would do…and I think we are about the same age too cause I remember all that stuff!! Have a Happy New Year!!!

  17. Laura says:

    Truly loved your sharing of the ‘pickling of 1984’…as I read this, I thought that is something I would have done as well. 84 was a good year for 14 year olds too. 🙂
    Sentiments and all – wishing you a joyous 2008!
    Laura in Atlanta

  18. Caroline says:

    Loved your post! I was 12 in l984, too. For me there was a lot of drama, pain, heartache, depression and pre-teen crap, which, yes, includes endless visits to the orthodontist and the dermatologist! But there were also wonderful things like Duran Duran, jelly shoes, wavy bracelets, mini skirts, and my beautiful red sweater that was just like Princess Diana’s, covered with lots of white sheep and one single black one!
    Oh, how the years get better and better as an adult!

  19. Ronnica says:

    Thanks for the laugh. Happy New Year! I’ve seem to have spent the last moments of 2007 and the first moments of 2008 packing…put that’s just fine with me…and a bit symbolic too.

  20. Pearl says:

    You have such a beautiful way with words! Happy New Year to you also… and may you too have many more years that are so wonderful that you would like to preserve some of the air from them, for all posterity.
    With love~ Pearl

  21. Gego says:

    Happy New Year to all! What a great posting, Shan. Makes me wish I had had the GRANDS blow in jars this year as presents on the eve of their marriages. Beats snowflakes, I think 😉
    Love y’all bunches….. Gego

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