News and Tribune

January 3, 2013

MAY: Start with a drop

Local columnist

Editor’s note: Today, the News and Tribune welcomes new regular columnist Tom May. Look for Tom’s column every Thursday in the News and Tribune.

The final answer is a frog, a guitar, a cigar, a pickle, a bass, a beach ball, a goat, an anchor, a trunk, a bag of potato chips, a wrench, a strawberry, a hog, an Indy race car, a Ford Edge, a possum, a cow, a crab, a peach, a pear and a Peep.

OK, Alex, “What are things that are dropped at midnight on New Year’s Eve?” That’s correct! Across the United States alone, more than a hundred things are dropped, tossed, lowered and flung on the last day of the year.

While most of us at some point watched a thousand-pound lighted ball, measuring over six feet in diameter, drop 77 feet in 60 seconds in New York City’s Times Square, thousands of Americans braved the weather to watch pounds and pounds of food, animals and things fall to the ground.

At the Hard Rock Café on Beale Street in Memphis, Tenn., a $10 cover charge got people standing-room-only admission to watch a giant blue Gibson guitar drop. Accompanied by fireworks and local bands and musicians on indoor and outdoor stages, the event draws thousands of visitors each year.

Maybe you aren’t a rocker, maybe you’re a reeler. Your New Year’s Eve destination would most likely have been Port Clinton, Ohio, a little berg of about 6000 folks on Lake Erie near Toledo. Port Clinton is known as the “Walleye Capital of the World.” At midnight, a 20-foot, 600 pound Walleye (Latin for “big, ugly fish”) was dropped, circled by cheering spectators. While waiting for the big moment, people were treated to walleye chowder, walleye sandwiches, walleye cinnamon chips and walleye popcorn.

If guitars and fish are not enough to cause you to utter a peep, a journey to Bethlehem, Pa., is sure to do the trick. Mangers and nativities give way to the dropping of a five foot, 25-pound fiberglass Peep. Chants of “Drop that Peep!” ring out, cannons shoot tons of confetti and the three-day Peep Fest comes to a close. The celebration was held at 5:45 p.m. so that children could attend.

The ball drop in Times Square stems from an even older ritual in England when a descending Time Ball was a popular method of signaling the strike of noon to allow pocket watches and sea ship chronometers to be reset. This event became a daily “plumb line” — a standard by which time could be measured.

Maybe dropping a daily moral plumb line — a standard to make sure our moral compass aligns with God’s compass of truth — would be a great resolution for us all.

  — Tom May is the Minister of Discipleship at Eastside Christian Church in Jeffersonville. He is an adjunct instructor in the Communications Department at Indiana University Southeast.