Poor Baby New Year. Showing up in just a diaper and that little "Happy New Year" sash across its chest, it's going to be one freezing infant. In our part of the country, at least, it's arriving to subzero temperatures, wind, and snow. Someone really ought to replace that sash with a nice warm snowsuit.
One of the family gifts this Christmas was a CD with a collection of old and new family pictures scanned from various albums. One of my three sisters, with contributions from our mother, also created a book of pictures and stories about the four of us.
Both of these treasured collections include a photo of me, age six months, dressed—or rather undressed—in nothing but a diaper and a sash proclaiming "1952." Given my chubby belly and my round head with the barest beginnings of hair, nobody would mistake me for Miss America instead of Baby New Year.
I assume my scanty attire was temporary and that I wore a lot more than a sash for most of my first winter, because it was a cold year with memorable blizzards. For my parents, living in a tiny trailer with no plumbing or electricity, being snowed in with a baby and a three-year-old probably lost its appeal in a hurry. My father would ride horseback to one of the neighbors who lived on the gravel road, then go to town with them to get groceries.
Judging by the way it's starting out, this coming year might also bring heavy snow and blizzards. With our paved roads, four-wheel drives, improved weather forecasts, and all the rest of our 21st Century technology, we tend to think we're immune from the old-fashioned consequences of bad weather. Maybe so. But staying stocked up on groceries and library books, as well as keeping the woodpile stacked high, seems like a good idea just in case.
In that 1952 photo, my expression is willing but a little confused. It seems appropriate for an infant year on its first public appearance, since we can't ever know what that new year will bring.
But it's here, and so are we. Maybe, on this cold winter day, that's all we need to know. Happy New Year!