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Our View: Don't forget the good times

Posted: December 31, 2009 5:35 p.m.
Updated: January 1, 2010 4:55 a.m.
You almost certainly know the tune. You might even know the opening line: "Should old acquaintance be forgot. ..." After that things may be hazy.

And what, exactly, is an Auld Lang Syne?

Based in part on a poem by Scottish wordsmith Robert Burns, "Auld Lang Syne" has become a musical New Year's cliche - and one which, frankly, we'd all do well to know and preserve, particularly at the close of a challenging 12 months.

The phrase "auld lang syne" is translated as "old long past," according to the Robert Burns World Federation.

Before we proceed any further, it's worth taking a look at two verses of that ubiquitous song, with lyrics courtesy of the federation's Web site.

Should old acquaintance be forgot
and never brought to mind?
Should old acquaintance be forgot
For auld lang syne?

For auld lang syne, my joy
For auld lang syne.
We will take a cup of kindness yet
For auld lang syne.

And there is a hand, my trusty friend,
And give me a hand of yours.
And we will take a right goodwill drink
For auld lang syne.

For auld lang syne, my joy,
For auld lang syne.
We will take a cup of kindness yet
For auld lang syne.

Indeed. Raise a toast to the good times past. It is so easy to focus on what seems to be a cloud of doom and gloom under which we've lived this past year.

But was it all so bad? Were there really no bright spots in the darkness of 2009?

Perhaps we should dig a little more deeply into our collective memories.

Just look at the national news. A week ago, the lives of nearly 300 people aboard Detroit-bound Northwest Flight 253 were spared when a Nigerian's attempt to blow up the plane failed, due in part to the actions of fast-responding passengers.

Almost one year ago, on Jan. 15, Capt. C.B. "Sully" Sullenberger steeled his nerves and crash-landed US Airways Flight 1549 in New York's Hudson River. No one was killed. In fact, the event birthed friendships and even romantic relationships.

Those two events make for nice, dramatic bookends to a year seemingly peppered with news of financial ruin, an ongoing health care crisis and bloody conflicts across the globe.

Yet there were plenty of tales of goodness and heroism.

In the Santa Clarita Valley, plenty of positive moments punctuated the negative ones.

Despite slashed state funding, donors came through to lend support to the Santa Clarita Valley Domestic Violence Center - ensuring there is still hope for victims of escalating home violence.

When local bicyclist Kevin Mather was left paralyzed from the waist down in a hit-and-run collision, members of his church snapped into action, providing meals for the Mather family and even tending to an ill-timed plumbing problem in the young man's home.

The SCV Emergency Winter Shelter was able to open on time for its annual December-through-March season, giving the valley's homeless a place to sleep, eat, wash up and receive aid to get their lives back on track.

In the middle of a tight economy, seven local nonprofit groups received a shot in the arm, divvying up $52,000 in grant money from Kaiser Permanente.

One thing is for sure: Ours is a very generous community.

Take, for example, the case of Saugus High School senior Jonny Borondy. While he battles cancer, local businesses have raised money to help pay for his treatment.

Earlier in the year, friends, family members and businesses spent $30,000 restoring his "rust bucket" 1968 Chevrolet El Camino as a surprise.

And sometimes, the bright spots are as simple as a shoulder to cry on when painful financial realities hit home.

Or last conversations with a dying loved one.

A welcoming embrace from your significant other after a lousy day at the office.

Finding $20 in the pocket of a jacket you haven't worn in a while.

The point is, don't let present trials drown out the sweet strains of better days. Hold on to the good times.

Forget about resolutions. Let's all just do our best, day by day, to make 2010 the best it can be.


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