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I was jolted from sleep by the sound of firecrackers and the shouts and shrieks of small children. I had dozed off with a book in my hands. It seemed impossible that I had slept so long. But, my watch said only 9:00. The neighbors just down the hill, an extroverted bunch, were celebrating an early New Years for the children. More shrieks. More laughter. More pops and clatter. They were watching the ball in Times Square, I imagine. Midnight, by comparison, seemed more like an armed invasion. It boomed and echoed up and down the hillside. Double New Year. One for the children, one for the adults. And now one for the rest of us. Happy New Year.
 
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