I don’t either. But if I’ve had a bit too much drink on New Year’s Eve — and that is not unheard-of at the Warehouse — I still can get misty-eyed over the song, watching the boozy couples sway amid the confetti. Probably because the generally accepted meaning of “Auld Lang Syne” boils down to “for the old times.” Who can’t drink to that? The older I get, the better I was.
With all due respect to Robert Burns, here’s a ballad composed by James Watson in 1711 that is a bit easier to comprehend:
Should Old Acquaintance be forgot,
and never thought upon;
The flames of Love extinguished,
and fully past and gone:
Is thy sweet Heart now grown so cold,
that loving Breast of thine;
That thou canst never once reflect
On Old long syne.
In other words: Life goes on, but so do memories. The more we change, the more we stay the same. So let’s not act like we don’t all come from the same small town. I mean that figuratively, of course.
Here in the Springfield neighborhood of Jacksonville, the celebratory gunfire has already started. A few more hours and it will sound like the Tet Offensive. I’d probably be hunkered down anyway, on this particular night, but the gunshots and fireworks seem like another good reason to stay cool and relatively sober. So I cede this night to the boozy couples. But I do understand them. Auld Lang Syne, baby.