January 1, 2009
I just love those montages of world events they put on tv at the end of every year, even the inevitable memorials to those well-known people we lost during the year. Don't you?
A review of the past year is somehow cathartic, and perhaps even necessary to the prep of facing the incoming one. We never know what lies ahead, and at least once a year we think about that fact.
The year 2008 was one of the most momentous of my lifetime. In my day I've seen more than the advent and exit of Detroit bombs like the Edsel, above; I've seen the end of a "great" war; the beginning of many infamous ones; a trickle of lackluster election campaigns; a parade of decent presidents and a few scoundrels in the job--but none of these compares to the impact in my life of the presidential election year of 2008, in which a true talent emerged and convinced enough people he could do the job that he vanquished some formidable opponents and actually won. It was good to know that the man in the White House might undo some of the pain wrought over the past polarizing eight years.
Whenever I see the memorials, however, I am saddened: Paul Newman, Charlton Heston, Suzanne Pleshette, George Carlin, Heath Ledger, Bernie Mac, and all the others whom I shall miss. I remind myself that they remain with us in their films, but we all know that isn't the same. We know that others will succeed them, but they will not truly be replaced. We know that 2009 will bring some rewarding and excellent movies and books, some unanticipated artists in any number of fields, but knowing that these people are not on the earth any more triggers the inevitable sense of loss and wonder.
As we retrain ourselves to put a "9" where we had become accustomed to putting an "8" at the end of the date, we will add a hopeful sigh, knowing that another year is beginning. As with the birth of a baby, we anticipate the best and have some apprehension that our hopes may not be met.
Happy New Year.