SIKESTON - Whether it's dancing the night away, hosting a celebration at home or going to dinner and a movie, doing something special to ring in the new year is a tradition for many.
And although some opted to spend a quiet evening at home last New Year's Eve, this time there's a little more festive attitude in the air.
"I don't think the Sept. 11, 2001, tragedies will keep people home this year," remarked Dr. Larry Bohannon. "I do think there is much more concern about safety and many opt not to be on the highways during this time though. I think there has been more emphasis on being with family and doing something with each other these past couple years."
Gloria Hopkins agreed, believing those who will stay home tonight have made that choice to avoid drinking and driving.
Bohannon said his New Year's Eve will include taking his family to dinner, calling out of town family and friends to wish them a happy new year and maybe stopping by the Country Club.
"My plans for tonight are the same as in the past and that is to stay home with the person I love and all the pets we love," said Hopkins.
Most everyone has their own idea of the perfect way to spend New Year's Eve, be it idealistic or not. For some it might be being in Times Square when the clock strikes midnight, but Bohannon said he will settle for watching it from a distance.
"My idea of the perfect way to celebrate is sitting by the fire, watching a movie and watching the ball drop in Times Square at midnight. But most of all, having everyone home and safe is the best way to ring in the new year. The way we spend it has changed over the past few years. With teen-agers wanting to be with friends that evening, it's best mom and dad stay home by the fire - and by the telephone," he quipped.
Joyce and Glen Allen Mays say their idea of the perfect New Year's Eve celebration is to share it with friends.
"To me, it's spending a quiet evening with friends, having dinner, enjoying each other's company and knowing we are all safe and sound," said Mrs. Mays.
"I've been pretty much a homebody on New Year's Eve for the past 10 years or so. Last year was my first New Year's Eve as a parent. Having family and friends support us during a difficult pregnancy and Molly Claire's premature birth, Glen Allen and I were more aware and thankful of our many blessings... Not only our daughter, but our home, our jobs, our church family and our community."
Bohannon didn't hesitate when asked what he hopes for 2003. "Peace on earth and I can't say it loud enough or more sincerely. With two teen-age boys ages 17 and 18, I know they would fight for their country and risk the ultimate sacrifice. I just hope and pray things can be handled differently without war."
Hopkins said her wish for 2003 is that people are kinder to both people and animals.
And since there's not much that can be done to prevent the new year from occurring, many individuals look at it as a way to start over.
"A new year means a new year to me, another year that God has given us in the scheme of life," Hopkins said. "It's a time to be thankful, a time to be hopeful and a time to try to make a positive difference."
Bohannon said he always look forward to a new year, seeing it as a time to rethink and regroup. "To set new goals and maybe a few New Year's resolutions. To me, a new year is a time to be grateful for what has been received and to look forward to making life better for yourself and those you love."
What the Mays are looking forward to in 2003 is watching their daughter continue to grow.
"I'm ready to see another year come in," declared Mrs. Mays. "There's always hope in our future and an opportunity to give back more to our families, our church, our work, and our community. A new year gives me a chance to better myself whether it is at work or home, at church or in the community. After the holidays, the new year usually is appealing to me since the busy season is over and a quieter time is approaching."