This morning I was out walking my dogs. I went up Elizabeth Street to Magnolia. Lately I have been avoiding this area because of all the transients and crazy drivers. Today I just thought it would be nice to see what was in the windows of the second-hand stores and GoodWill that line Elizabeth. As I walked, I saw a man headed toward me. He apparently had just left where a woman was busily packing up her bedding from the night. I crossed the street to avoid them. It was then he called out, "Good morning, sir! Happy New Year!" Nothing more.
I hadn't seen these particular folks before. In fact, it seemed the usuals I was normally encountered there were not present. I wondered if something had changed. Had there been a changing of the guard? Was there a ushering out of the usuals and these were the new street people? I didn't give it much more thought than that before I returned the man's friendly smile, and said, "Happy New Year to you too," before continuing on my walk.
As I walked on I though about how this was the first Monday of the new year. Although the year was going on four days old, people everywhere were still greeting each other with "Happy New Year." When I worked in an office, for most of the 30 years I was there, it was an annual ritual to wish everyone you encountered good luck and happiness after the calendar turned. It always seemed so on the first Monday of the year.
Perhaps it is because the first Monday is the first day of the first week. The pages of the new calendar are blank and waiting for appointments, dates and to-do's to be written in. There is optimism in the air. On television, the winter series of all the programs begin. The holidays are sweet and sometimes bittersweet memories. The cycle begins again. And we are hopeful that this year it will be different.
First Mondays like most firsts are bright and laden with expectations and inspirations. People are still nice to each other. It is a time of the year I like very much.