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Which New Year?

Generosity and thrift. This was the first example that Oseola McCarty set the world, and is there a better two-word way to both live and make a living in the New Year?

Now another example comes from the octogenarian who gave her life savings as a laundress - $150,000 - to the University of Southern Mississippi in her hometown of Hattiesburg. As the latest of many honors since her gift a year-and-a-half ago, Miss McCarty was asked to throw the switch to start the countdown in Manhattan's giant New Year's Eve celebration in Times Square. And, in answer to a question, she said she otherwise wouldn't stay up for the midnight moment. "Why would I?"

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We're not necessarily following the not-staying-up part. It's what we read into it in relation to dates on the calendar.

After all, calendars themselves have changed over the centuries. And different cultures celebrate the new year at different times on the prevailing international calendar. Janus, the Roman god for whom January is named, was the patron of both beginnings and endings.

So it's traditional to sum up and look forward at this festive season. But, as Miss McCarty's "why" echoes with the singing of "Auld Lang Syne," we're trying to think of every day as New Year's.

Another echo is one of her sayings that have now been collected:

"It seems pretty basic to me. If you want to feel proud of yourself, you've got to do things to be proud of."

Thrift enables doing some things. Generosity impels doing things that may cost some savings or a no less valuable smile and helping hand. So, whenever you read this...

Happy New Year!

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