We have come to the end of another year. Those that know of such things tell us, with each passing year, we become more in touch with the world around us. For my part, I am not sure if I am in touch with the world or just watching it pass by. In the big scheme of things, I am playing my part and hope that I am making a difference.
I want to thank all of you that have read my columns over the last eleven years and found some enjoyment in them. You have told me I have made you smile, and sometimes shed a tear. But, I hope sometimes my columns haven given you something to think about.
This was the year the Seventeen Year Cicada returned to fill the trees in May and June. Predictions said this was going to be one of the biggest swarms anyone could remember. It was big, but not as overwhelming as I remembered from past invasions. I wonder, did the cicadas that swarmed seventeen years ago not leave as many offspring as predicted? Or, did the invasion of moles beneath our yards eat many of the returning red-eyed insects? Only Mother Nature knows for sure.
This was a memorable year for me. I had the honor of being part of the Wetzel County Time Capsule Project. I was proud to be there when the capsule was seal for the next one 100 years. I enjoyed talking with those who attended the ceremony, and hearing their ideas of the future. I hope when the year 2116 rolls around, those citizens who open the stainless steel vault will appreciate the items placed inside, to tell them a little about our world today.
I was there this summer when they rededicated The Wetzel County Public Library. Seventy years ago, the library first began with the work and dedication of a few citizens. Since that beginning, it has become one of the finest community libraries around. In these days of electronic hand devices, we tend to forget about the importance of a library in our county. Fortunately those people who are guiding the library are looking toward tomorrow and creating an institution that will serve our community for years to come.
Do you remember when the lottery reached 1.6 billion dollars? People purchased tickets by the handful. Each of them reach for a dream that cost only $2. What did they get for that investment? No one I knew won a single penny. But, at the same time, they earned the right to dream about the money and how it would affect their lives. We didn't win, but we sure dreamed that we could have.
This was the year I whispered to you about my first love. A beautiful dark-haired beauty with two big ears, Annette Funicello. In 1956 I watched on an old black and white TV, as the Mickey Mouse Show came on television each week. I knew Annette and her fellow Mouseketeers were going to sing and dance for me, and millions of other kids who watched every week. I knew back then, as I still know today, love is something that makes you smile. I have been fortunate in my life to have married the real love of my life, and I am still smiling today.
For me, I will remember this as the year I wrote my columns titled Calendars, Clocks and Time. I have always enjoyed the stories of Jules Verne and H.G. Wells. Those two men's visions of the future have been proven to be remarkably correct. Written in a time, long before computers or technology, they opened the doors to their imagination and asked, is it possible? And they answered, yes.
In the six-part column, I asked members of the community how they saw the future world. A man who has dedicated his life to spreading the words of the gospel wrote of the difficulty the world faces. He believes mankind will find his way, with a little help from above. A professor of economics foretells of how our money system will change. Another man, who has dedicated his life to the legal system, sees challenges to our privacy and how the world will change to protect our values and rights.
One subject I wrote about was the presidential election. I tried to give my readers an understanding of the Electoral College and the popular vote. The story foretold what came to pass in the 2016 election.
I have been asked by some of you to write a story about what I think the next four years will bring under President Trump. Like most of you, I believe the next four years will bring changes. And, I have written them down and placed them in a sealed letter addressed to myself. I will open it the day after the next presidential election. That way, I will know if my ideas of the future, under the new president, came to pass. I would suggest, to all of you, to do the same thing I have done. Write down your ideas and hopes for the next four years. If you do that and seal them into an envelope, then when we open them in four years, we will know if our thought and ideas came to pass. You might call those sealed letters, our hopes for the future.
Recently, the Webster's dictionary company announced their word of the year: Surreal, which is "Marked by the intense irrational reality of a dream." As we step into the New Year, I have two words for you to remember, "Coupons and Vouchers." I believe they will become words that all Americans will gain a new understanding of in the coming year. It is time we each look to the New Year, with hope and optimism for better times, as we pass into 2017 Through the Lens.