Never a Wish Better Than This

January 1, 2005

Half time goes by, suddenly you’re wise
Another blink of an eye. . .
The sun is getting high, we’re moving on…
there’s still time for you, time to buy and time to choose
. . there’s never a wish better than this.
— John Ondrasik (“Five for Fighting”), b. 1968
                                  American singer-songwriter

Holidailies 2004Well, it appears that 2005 has not started out so well. My site tracker indicates that several readers found this space today and earlier this week from searches on “bayberry candle.” I wrote about burning a bayberry candle for good luck in the new year on January 1, 2000. This year I got one out when I got out the Advent candles (bought on sale last year — still following that Frugal Mother’s example). I put it in a silver holder on the mantel and completely forgot about it until I saw the referral logs. 

Except for the omission of the bayberry candle burned to the socket, our New Year’s Eve went well. We followed the pattern we’ve had in place since about the time I wrote the millennium piece. We went to dinner early with Lynn and her boyfriend, Will, (the second year Will’s been our guest) at a very elegant restaurant not far from where we live. It was nearly empty when we arrived, but tables filled as we progressed though our meal, and as we were leaving the band was arriving to set up for the party portion of the evening. (I like a quiet restaurant.)

About 9:00, Lynn and Will left for a party at someone’s home (the same generous family as last year with a spacious house and a willingness to supervise without becoming intrusive) and Ron and I settled in to watch Midnight Cowboy. I saw it once when it was new (1969) but Ron had never seen it. My interest in it now was sparked when I saw Dustin Hoffman on Sixty Minutes about two weeks ago. Midnight Cowboy was his first big film after The Graduate, and he took a risk going from the clean-cut, youthful Benjamin Braddock to the down-and-out Rico “Ratso” Rizzo.

Just as the scene in It’s a Wonderful Life where George Bailey throws away his travel brochures is the one that remained with me after the others had faded, it’s the Florida travel poster tacked up in Ratso Rizzo’s miserable squatter’s rooms that has left an impression. Trapped in a desperate circumstances by chance and by choices, Rizzo continues to talk about going to Florida, where his health and his fortunes will improve. Like George Bailey, Joe Buck steps up when someone needs him most, but it’s too late. As their bus crosses the border into Florida, Ratso dies, his blank stare fixed on the palm trees and the blue skies he had so longed for.

Pictures of Wyoming hang in my kitchen. This is the second year I’ve chosen a scenic calendar with images of sparkling mountain streams and jagged snow-capped peaks and horses running through amber waves of grain. There’s still time for me. There’s never a wish better than this.

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