By Julie McCay Turner
In a long-standing First Parish tradition, the congregation’s 1926 Blinn bell pealed at the stroke of midnight; a stalwart crew of young and young at heart came by car and on foot, from Bedford and surrounding towns, to welcome the New Year.
Alice Groves celebrated her eighty-eighth birthday at a moment after twelve when Happy Birthday and Robert Burns’s Auld Lang Syne rang out with gusto.
Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and never brought to mind ?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot, and auld lang syne?
CHORUS: For auld lang syne, my jo, for auld lang syne, we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne.
And surely ye’ll be your pint-stowp ! and surely I’ll be mine !
And we’ll tak a cup o’ kindness yet, for auld lang syne.
We twa hae run about the braes, and pu’d the gowans fine
But we’ve wander’d mony a weary fit, sin auld lang syne.
We twa hae paidl’d i’ the burn, frae morning sun till dine ;
But seas between us braid hae roar’d sin auld lang syne.
And there’s a hand, my trusty fiere ! and gie’s a hand o’ thine !
And we’ll tak a right gude-willy waught, for auld lang syne.
CORRECTION: First Parish’s senior minister John Gibbons notes that ” [the bell was] indeed, was given in memory of Georg Blinn by his wife Clara…in 1926.” An earlier edition of this story incorrectly reported the bell to have been dedicated in 1836.