View From Hickory Heights: It’s About The Simpler Things

Do you remember Y2K? That was the time when we went from the 20th Century to the 21st Century. My granddaughter was 1¢ at the time. To say she was not a sleeper was an understatement. She was still up until well after midnight. The other grandson was just a couple months old so he slept through the whole thing. We watched all the sections of Europe ring in the new year. Finally, it was our turn.

All of the celebrations on television went on normally. Thankfully, the meltdown at midnight never happened — not that we were sad. I think everyone was thankful that all of the electronics functioned beautifully. All of that preparation was of no use.

Another New Year’s Eve, before grandchildren, we walked up in the pasture at my daughter’s house. Although it was cold, it was a beautiful starlit night. After our walk we enjoyed hot cocoa, coffee, and a few spirits I imagine. It was good exercise.

It is all about the simple things. We truly have learned to appreciate them. There is much beauty in nature. What is prettier than when you look up into the dark sky peppered with stars?

I remember teaching the grandchildren how to find the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper. At one point we could see the Northern Lights. If there happens to be a full moon the light on the sparkly snow is gorgeous.

Birds are another of God’s wonders. I no longer put out feeders because we have bears. The bear destroyed all of my feeders. I miss seeing the birds eating outside my bay window, but I cannot afford to keep replacing feeders.

I do still have birds but they come on their own. They feed on what nature provides.

The deer are like pets. They frequent the yard grazing along the way. I do not mind if they eat the grass, but I have to watch the blue rug juniper because they like to eat that. The other morning, I awoke to two deer resting in the yard. Although I moved around the kitchen, they were not spooked.

My dog goes out but he leaves the deer alone. He just watches as they eat and play.

A pine woods is west of my home. Even before we moved to Hickory Heights, my husband started the trees that now tower above the house. It is such a serene spot to walk. I remember the grandchildren playing in the woods. They loved to walk there.

Now the woods shelters my driveway. That is good in some ways but does not allow the snow to melt as soon as it would if the sun hit it. It also blocks out the sunsets. I miss seeing them. When we lived down by the farm the sunsets were visible and so pretty.

One New Year’s Eve my in-laws celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. Although they were married Christmas Eve, New Year’s seemed a better time to celebrate. My sister-in-law and I put our slides together to present a slide presentation that ran while our family sang. My nephew wrote a song for them which he sang and played.

We were at the Gouldtown Church. At midnight there was a service. It was a very nice night. Many people came to celebrate with them.

Another new year we got together with some couples from the church. We had plenty of food. We also played some games that were a lot of fun. I remember that night it below zero. I was thankful that we were not far from home.

Early in our marriage we went out on New Year’s Eve. My mother was at our home to babysit. I took some drapery material and created a dress to wear. It really came out very nice and no one was the wiser. As I recall we thought we had plenty of money with us, but with the inflated cost of the meal, my husband and I had to pool our money to have enough to pay for our meal. To top it all off, it was not that good so we never went that route again.

The next year we went to a friend’s house. We all took food and had plenty to eat. It was much cheaper.

For several years my son and his wife hosted our New Year’s celebration. Some friends they knew from college often came to celebrate with us. Some of the neighbors were there as well. The cousins enjoyed being together. Of course, that was before boyfriends.

I do not make New Year’s resolutions. At the end of the year I write a piece just for myself about the accomplishments and other events of the year. I also write a piece about my hopes for the future. It is fun to look back and see if they came true.

If you are a mother you will relate to this next part. I found it on the internet and it hit home. It has nothing to do with the new year at all. It is called “Famous mom sayings”.

If everyone else jumped off a cliff, would you do it?

Don’t talk with your mouth full.

Do you think I was born yesterday?

Money doesn’t grow on trees.

Look at me when I am talking to you.

Because I said so.

Don’t make me come in there.

Your face is going to freeze like that.

These are just a few to get you started. I have heard all of these and said most of them. I am sure you can add many more. Anyway, I hope you all have a happy new year.

Ann Swanson writes from her home in Russell, Pa. Contact at