The Worldwide Celebration

Every year, I approach New Year’s Eve with a meh feeling.  It’s a phony holiday, I think, based solely on the arbitrary divisions of time set by medieval calendars created by forgotten leaders.  It’s also a an event that causes people to raise their hopes for great parties and great times, and often it ends up being a tremendous letdown.

Unbeknownst to me, however, there is a hard core of people out there who love New Year’s Eve.  They live for it and celebrate it with joy and fervor.

Why?  As one person explained it to me, it’s because New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are really the one worldwide holiday.  Many holidays are national, or religious, and therefore aren’t recognized, much less celebrated, by people in different countries or of different faiths.  But New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are different.  Across the globe, as the hour strikes 12 and the calendar page turns, people of all nationalities, faiths, colors and creeds celebrate the New Year and the promise of a fresh start that a new year holds.

I never really thought about it in quite that way — and while I’m not sure that the remote villages in Papua, New Guinea, for example, are waiting for a ball to drop, there’s a lot of truth to the notion that New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are the closest thing we’ve got to a worldwide holiday.  Turn on the TV now, and when it strikes the hour you’ll see fireworks and celebrations in some faraway land.  So maybe New Year’s Eve really does deserve to be the subject of festivity.  This year, we’re going to give it a shot.

17 Years Of Sunny Janie

The year was 1997.  Bill Clinton, fresh from a convincing victory over Bob Dole, was just starting his second term.  Titanic dominated the box office, and Pierce Brosnan was still James Bond.  Seinfeld and Friends were the top TV shows. And the Cleveland Indians lost, in heartbreaking fashion, in a seven-game World Series with the Florida Marlins.

IMG_4465That year a new but very experienced legal secretary, M.J. Salmons, joined our firm and was assigned to work for me and another lawyer.  Seventeen contented and productive years later, effective at the end of the work day today, Janie is hanging up her keyboard to join her husband in retirement.  Yesterday we cut the cake to celebrate her years of service and wish her well in the new phase of her life.

It was a lucky day for me and my fellow attorney when Janie came to our firm and was assigned to work for us.  We established a great working relationship immediately and in the years since have pulled at the legal oars together without a hitch or hiccup.  Her good work has shown how important the role of a knowledgeable professional secretary can be, as she has taken on increasing responsibility for preparing reports, responding to requests for information, scheduling, managing files, and countless other chores that have made my work days much, much easier.  I don’t know how many briefs and motions and pleadings we’ve produced, but I do know this — her departure will leave big shoes to fill.

But although Janie’s work has always been top-notch, it’s her winning disposition that we’ll miss the most.  With her 100,000-megawatt smile, ready chuckle, and unfailingly cheerful, always-helpful attitude, she brightens the work day.   She’s the sort of person whose positive phone personality gets mentioned by impressed clients.  And as technology has increased our efficiency, she’s taken on responsibility for more lawyers — currently, there are six of us in the Janie stable of attorneys — without a complaint.  As one of my acquaintances observed, she’s not a secretary, she’s more of a saint.

Thank you, Janie, for all you’ve done.  Godspeed and smooth sailing in retirement!