Paris Goodnight: Holidays, birthdays, fame and fortune

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 13, 2022

We haven’t gotten through Thanksgiving yet but radio stations are already playing Christmas music. It seems like those tunes come rolling around a little earlier every year. But I guess since we don’t have quite as many songs that wax poetic about pumpkin pie and turkey with dressing, I guess we should just sit back and enjoy them whenever they surface.

I used to think it wasn’t really the holiday season until I had heard old Springsteen asking the boys in his band what time of year it was. And when they replied correctly he struck up the tale of Santa Claus coming to town. I heard that song Friday, so I guess it’s time to put up the stockings.

It’s also coming up on birthday season in the Goodnight household, as in three of the five will be celebrating before long. The only daughter and oldest son will be the first two in line, with my own following shortly thereafter.

Only one of those is a milestone birthday this year, so what should be expected of one crossing over into the big third decade? I can remember my own bash to mark a 30th birthday, which seems like only yesterday when we were celebrating with everyone who arrived coming in with a singular beverage but a version of their personal choice. It was something like Southern Comfort, but not exactly. And if you must know, that’s what we call Cheerwine around here.

I unfortunately didn’t get that word to one of our former columnists, who happened to write about us on another outing enjoying a campfire while drinking beer. You can only imagine the brouhaha that raised when my mother, a certified teetotaler, saw such a thing in print about one of her children. We of course were not drinking beer on that occasion, but something a little stronger that apparently folks at Appalachian State really appreciate.

My writer buddy thought he was doing us both a favor by softening that to beer, but little did he know how my mom would take it. Now if he would’ve said we were really drinking Southern Comfort, at least I would have had a fighting chance of convincing her that’s just what we called Cheerwine.

Needless to say, we had a good time on that night in the mountains, and on the night of my 30th birthday when it again wasn’t Southern Comfort but something of a similar variety that I got to enjoy for the next 10 years or so until another milestone birthday rolled around. It was a lovely way to look back on my 30s.

When the 40s came around, we had a similar if smaller gathering and the leftover supply didn’t quite last as long into the next decade.

So now that I look back on some of those earlier years, I wonder if there really is a tide in the affairs of man, that if taken at full force does lead on to fame and fortune, but if missed leaves you stuck in a quagmire. I may have missed it if there really is one, but as I think of all those birthdays that have gone by, I’m not sure if my boat was ever afloat on one of those key high tides. I don’t really remember any such opportunity that I’ve missed or choice that I’ve made unwisely, unless you consider majoring in journalism as one.

If I knew exactly what I was supposed to be looking for to bring on fame and fortune, I certainly would have done it long ago. But I certainly don’t know of any such choice I had, but I’ll keep my eyes open going forward, just in case my ship that is yet to come in is still sailing along on a moonlit bay or out on the seas somewhere and I just haven’t been able to guide it into shore yet.

Paris Goodnight is editor of the Salisbury Post.