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A Newsletter with Something In It
Hope in various forms from Ogden Nash and E.B. White
“Hope is patience with the lamp lit.” — Tertullian
The new year has arrived, with about as much celebration and dread that various factions can muster.
It’s a time of year when hope grabs us by the throat (in an attention-getting yet gentle way), suggesting to us that the year ahead holds many possibilities, some of which are within our power to grasp.
Enter the New Year’s resolutions.
We have the best of intentions, but the reality is these are gestures aimed at pleasing our logical selves. What we do (or don’t do) with them is the result of our emotional selves.
Usually, after a good New Year’s hangover, we pledge never to drink again. This is what the teetotalers in the image above are doing. And good for them if they can sustain themselves.
For those who are on more familiar terms with libations of the celebratory nature (of which the holidays inevitably offer a wide variety), perhaps we owe our attention to Ogden Nash’s droll little ditty, “A Drink with Something in It.”
There is something about a Martini, A tingle remarkably pleasant; A yellow, a mellow Martini; I wish I had one at present. There is something about a Martini, Ere the dining and dancing begin, And to tell you the truth, It is not the vermouth— I think that perhaps it's the gin. There is something about an old-fashioned That kindles a cardiac glow; It is soothing and soft and impassioned As a lyric by Swinburne or Poe. There is something about an old-fashioned When dusk has enveloped the sky, And it may the ice, Or the pineapple slice, But I strongly suspect it’s the rye. There is something about a mint julep. It is nectar imbibed in a dream, As fresh as the bud of the tulip, As cool as the bed of the stream. There is something about a mint julep, A fragrance beloved by the lucky. And perhaps it’s the tint Of the frost and the mint, But I think it was born in Kentucky. There is something they put in a highball That awakens the torpidest brain, That kindles a spark in the eyeball, Gliding singing through vein after vein. There is something they put in a highball Which you’ll notice one day, if you watch; And it may be the soda, But judged by the odor, I rather believe it’s the Scotch. Then here’s to the heartening wassail, Wherever good fellows are found; Be its master instead of its vassal, And order the glasses around. For there’s something they put in the wassail That prevents it from tasting like wicker; Since it’s not tapioca, Or mustard, or mocha, I’m forced to conclude it’s the liquor.
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Now, for those who have perhaps bravely taken the pledge or to those for whom 2022 offers no glimmer of hope, fear not! We have words of encouragement for you as well.
In 1973, E.B. White reminded a correspondent that the future of humanity is not unavoidably bleak with a lovely letter that captured the notion perfectly.
“As long as there is one upright man, as long as there is one compassionate woman, the contagion may spread and the scene is not desolate. Hope is the thing that is left to us, in a bad time. I shall get up Sunday morning and wind the clock, as a contribution to order and steadfastness…
“Hang onto your hat. Hang onto your hope. And wind the clock, for tomorrow is another day.”
Fix a drink of your choosing. Keep hope in your heart. And focus on things you can control.
Thanks, and I’ll see you on the internet.