The end of 2021. Did everyone have a good celebration? Were you like me who had a busy day, took a nice, long nap, and woke up just a few hours—enough to watch the ball drop and eat my 12 grapes? I told a friend that my family’s tradition is to eat 12 grapes when the clock strikes midnight at our precise latitude and longitude.
She asked me why and I could tell her because I finally researched the Tradition. It originates from Spain, where it is officially called las doce uvas de la suerte (the twelve grapes of luck). Each grape represents every month of the new year.
To date, I am still not sure which grapes worked their magic. But it’s nice to engage in these traditions. There’s a certain buzz in the air when the new year arrives. Whether good or bad, I find that the older I become, I think about life and its steadfast speed.
That brings me to the book I began on New Year’s Eve. I started it because the book is set on New Year’s Eve in 1984, over the course of 1 day on her long walk through New York City. The narrator is an 84- or 85-year-old woman named Lilian Boxfish (she will never disclose her real age—because that is a preposterous notion). And man did I love being inside her head. It is brilliantly written. She recounts her life and at one point, she tells us of her career at Macy’s when the actual R.H. Macy had died about 50 years prior. The book even tells you what the “star” from its logo means and it was a fascinating historical tidbit. I highly recommend this read.
Another thing I think about when I am contemplating my mortality is all the stuff I own. What happens to all this stuff when you finally expire? It’s just left there for others to sort through and do with whatever they think is right, I guess.
The Swedes, however, have long since practiced the art of ridding yourself of THINGS, exactly to simplify the process after death. It is purposefully designed for loved ones. And yes, this is a cultural concept that existed long before the Marie Kondo method. The practice is called Swedish Death Cleaning. The idea is to get rid of all the stuff in your life that weighs you down. This practice is usually done when you hit middle age and even though I am not age-appropriate, I am certainly taking 2022 to practice this violent-sounding practice.
I know this post was probably morbid in tone but I am instead, in an optative mood. As always, Happy Reading! I hope you get a chance to check out one or both of my recommendations. (I will be donating Lilian Boxfish to the bookstore so keep your eyes peeled!)