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The Pot Bangers

It was my younger sister who dredged up a 25-year old New Year’s Eve memory with a simple text. “So…you gonna bang some pots and pans together again this year?”

And I smiled faster than my thumbs could type. “Uh…you know it.” I answered.

And 200 miles apart, we both snickered.

Because one only bangs pots and pans together once. Which is what happened the New Year’s Eve I spent with my friend Carrie. Both of us rule followers. And both of us righteously afraid of her mother who could make you confess sins you never committed by simply looking at you…and waiting.

When her parents had left for the evening, it was Carrie’s dad who had poked his head back in from the garage. “You all bang some pots and pans together to celebrate,” he winked.

And our eyes grew bigger like no idea had ever sounded better.

At 11:55 p.m., we stared at the digits on the microwave. We’d gathered every precious pot and pan Carrie’s mom owned.

At 11:59 and a 1/2, we hauled the mixed and matched pieces down to the back yard, grabbed a pair of pots apiece and started whapping those things together.

Two clunks in, the pots I was holding fell to the lawn. But not the handles. When I looked at Carrie, her mortified face confirmed that she, too, was holding just a set of handles.

Pot handles.

Nothing in my somewhat-sheltered life had prepared me for this moment–the shock of snapping off all of Mrs. Mason’s pot handles. On New Year’s Eve. Following directions.

And so I laughed until I feared my chest might burst apart. Then I looked at the collection of bowls there in the grass. And I gasped for more air to laugh again. And since Carrie was presently still alive, the two of us marched around the back yard hitting together two handles that made nearly no noise.

It was quiet when the Masons returned.  Too quiet. And I wasn’t invited to the kitchen table conference where the broken pots were piled. So I hovered in the hallway.

The verdict? I don’t really know.

I just know that Carrie lived because I was in her wedding a few years later.

As for me, there’s not a New Year’s Eve that goes by that I don’t consider banging a few pots and pans together.

You know.

For old time’s sake.


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