My big New Year’s Eve highlight was the Chicken Momo at my local Indian restaurant. I had one martini, and rang in the New Year watching “American Horror Story,” 9 years after its debut. Even my viewing choice wasn’t “new.” I didn’t even kiss my dog. My one invite was cancelled because of what seems like a bronchitis epidemic. My potential trip to Aspen got shelved, which, as I don’t ski, was probably a reasonable outcome.
Luckily, my friends and family had infinitely more interesting holidays than I. They celebrated on many different continents, in every time zone, arriving at this new decade, within a day or so of each other, with shared optimism. What seemed to be another universal commonality, is that they celebrated mostly with family, partners, best friends, often in intimate venues …
Are we collectively growing up — though my posse spans 20 to 75? I may be because it actually felt nice to be under my percales watching a deliciously dark show, with no obligation to kiss some random party guest, and sated by my favorite dinner, with my warm pup at my feet.
And I thought a lot about my friends, Anne Hearst McInerney and Jay McInerney, whose Bridgehampton home almost burned down, 4 days into the New Year. It is a house lovingly built according to their design, filled with Hearst Castle artifacts, art, books, precious wines and even more precious animals.
Thankfully the animals made it out, though not without a little drama from Carlos Danger, their cat, who didn’t want to leave his home. The art, books and wine made it out, too, some under their arms.
The local firemen had to travel one mile to the closest hydrant and truck in the water, much of which, mixed with soot, helped but also destroyed. I actually had lunch with them, the day after it happened, as they are mostly dining out, now. I arrived, as did Robert Zimmerman, bearing sweaters, as all of theirs had perished.
Remarkably, they were calm, and even funny. Jay told us how he blasted a closet with a fire extinguisher, only to have it resist, and implode on him. No damage, but a face full of ash. They appreciated the amazing work of all of the local firefighters that much more.
Fortunately, they can live in their guesthouse while watching the long reconstruction of their beloved home. Jay and Anne are arguably two of the most generous, gracious hosts out east, and beyond. We are all offering the same to them, and hope they will take us upon it.
Here’s to friendship, care, health, love, creativity and all the things that will make 2020 a good one for you, and optimally, for everyone else, too.
Addendum: On Saturday, Anne and Jay’s beloved mini Pin, Bella, passed away. She lived to a ripe old 17, and was healthy and active till two days before she died, though her death was not unexpected. Amanda gave her to her mom and named her Bella. As you can see in the pictures, Anne dressed Bella way after Amanda outgrew that. I knew her well too, and have happy memories of her cruising the boardwalk in Miami and frolicking with her many fuzzy friends at Ashcroft Farm. It does seem that this is way more than any family should endure, within 2 weeks time. It is. But they have other loved animals, and oh yeah, kids, family, and us. So forge on they will, with grace, optimism and cherished memories.