CUCHARA — On one side of the street was a very tall telephone pole that had a glob of greenery in the rough shape of a giant “Pine Cone” attached to the top. The “Pine Cone” was also attached to a rope that descended to 25 feet above the center of the street and then looped up to the top of a shorter pole on the other side of the street. I estimate that there were about 150 of us who enjoyed cocktails, hors d’oeuvres and a magnificent meal at the Timbers Restaurant. It was about 9:55 pm MST (11:55 EST) when, fortified with our favorite adult beverage, we ventured outside to stand in the middle of the street where there is no protection and a wind chill factor of well below zero. This celebration takes place each year to coincide with the “Ball Drop” in Times Square, New York. Some have said that is because we want to be among the first in the U.S. to wish everyone a Happy New Year. I strongly suspect it has more to do with being able to get to bed “at a reasonable hour.” People were huddled together sharing body heat and giggles in anticipation of the
sliding “Pine Cone Drop.” This was the fourth year of this New Years Eve event. One year the Pine Cone was suppose to drop directly down, similar to the “Ball Drop” in Times Square. That didn’t work too well. Another year the Pine Cone actually went up rather than dropping down. That didn’t work too well either. When asked how well the Pine Cone Drop worked in the past, Olan Adams responded, “They all worked perfectly. However, we have a very loose definition of perfect.” I don’t know if we were in exact sync with New York City time or if someone decided that it was getting colder and therefore it was time to start the countdown. Six…five…four…three…two…one and the Pine Cone began its slide gaining speed and then coming to an abrupt stop 25 feet above the center of the street. The Pine Cone was dressed in a myriad of multi-colored lights that changed the drab glob of greenery into a beautifully festive, brightly decorated “pine-cone-like thing.” The sudden stop and high wind caused the Pine Cone to bounce wildly reminding me of a young child bouncing on her bed shouting “Look at me! Look at me!” The two-piece band broke into a rendition of Auld Lang Syne and the crowd joined in singing, and upon noticing that they were off key, compensated by singing louder. There was a lot of hug’en and peck’en and Happy New Year’en going on and I can’t remember enjoying a New Years Eve this much. In truth, I’m not so sure that this was primarily a New Years Eve celebration. Rather, I believe it was a celebration of the community by the community using New Years Eve as an excuse. In the end, Olan Adams was right. It worked perfectly and I like his definition of perfect. Thank you Cuchara, for showing us how to be silly.