January 1st is such a good day for sorting, cleaning, putting away, giving away, tossing away. My mother always believed it was bad luck to keep Christmas decorations up after the New Year. My friend Stephanie always put them up early and left them till way past the New Year. She was one of my first true Yankee friends, so I always thought it had to do with fresh trees and wreaths drying out and dropping needles all over living rooms in the South where it was too warm to keep live greenery up too long. So today, it's out with the holiday trappings!
While sorting and tossing, I found something I will hang on to. A quote in the front of a book my very best and longest-standing friend-- we have grandmothers who were friends-- gave to me a long time ago, long before we truly appreciated either good wine or good oil!
She gave me a book of quotations I never see anywhere these days: LEAVES OF GOLD. Lately, I've hesitated to inscribe gift books, thinking people may want to exchange them, but from now on, I won't. I loved finding this book, with this note in her handwriting:
"Three things are better old than new: wine, oil, but above all, an old friend."
I have a lot of newer friends, and hearing from all of them during the holidays, re-reading the cards before I put them away, saving the pictures of children and grandchildren. What would I rather be doing on New Year's Day?