They thought the snow was part of it, the ice, the leggings, boots, mittens, mufflers and coats. All were needed to fight the cold war.
On New Years eve they were sent to bed early, too young to stay up that late, unheard of. Their parents the lucky ones, to sing farewell to the old year. They would be having fun, a party with drinks.
Was it the hangovers that started this tradition? Give the parents a break, the children out of the way? Or was it a vestige of the past carried forward with that feeling of nagging necessity that New Years was to be brought in by the little ones.
Elsa's mother wrapped her up, gave her the noisemakers from halloween, clackers and whistles, pot lids from the cupboard, put them all in a sack.
"This is what you do," she said. "to welcome in the New Year, to get rid of all the bad things from last year. Make as much noise as you can. Make a parade. Get some other kids. March up and down the sidewalks, but only up to the corner and back. Then, afterwards we can have cocoa to drink."
Elsa thought perhaps this is part of the cold war, to make it go away.
She felt warm inside as she went to Bobby's house. His mother understood. Elsa and Bobby clanged on the pot lids, heartily yelling, "Happy New Year!" in their little child voices as they marched up the sidewalk to Janet's house.
The parents knew. This is the way it is done. And it will help the headaches from celebrating the night before, time to make the bleary eyed peep out the window go away. A quiet house, the children playing outside. That's what they did when they were little.
More children joined them, "Happy New Year! Happy New Year!" marching up the street all the way to Frankie's house. His mother wouldn't let him come outside.
That was when the children turned around, heading back to their warm houses, their mothers and cocoa. That was when snow crept into the top of Elsa's boots and melted into her socks. Her breath crystalized into her muffler making her nose red.
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(total word count for today: 808)