Darrell Huckaby - 'Bon voyage' to 2007

In Roman mythology, Janus was the god of gates and doorways. He was particularly well suited for that task because he was two-faced, thus allowing him to look into the future and into the past at the same time.

Guarding the gate would have been a good gig for Hillary Clinton. Manning the Oval Office - or would that be womanning the Oval Office - wouldn't be.

Janus, of course, is the namesake for January, which is the gateway to the new year, speaking of which, how long will it take to remember to write '08 on those post-holiday checks? I'm guessing somewhere around Leap Day for me - and congratulations to all you people born on Feb. 29. You'll have your first birthday in eight years!

In honor of Janus, I thought it might be fun to take a look back today - and a look ahead - although if the next 12 months are as whacky as the past 12, well, all things considered, I'd rather be back in 1962.

Things might have been just as whacky in 1962, but I was 10 and didn't know it.

We began the year with a new hope in Iraq and ended the year with an assassination in Pakistan. The people whose boots are on the ground in Iraq insist that conditions have improved drastically in that war-torn country and the people whose bottoms are in the seats on the left side of the Congressional aisle insist that they haven't.

Politics, as usual, in other words.

Speaking of which, as we began this wild and crazy run which will be recorded in history as 2007 A.D., Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were battling for the Democratic presidential nomination and as the old year passes and the Iowa Caucuses and Super Tuesday primaries approach, Clinton and Obama are still battling. Meanwhile, on the Republican front, Rudi Giuliani has lost ground, Mitt Romney has gained ground, Newt Gingrich has chosen not to run and Mike Huckabee has gained enough attention for people to at least start slinging mud in his direction.

If you are one of those people who think politics are a spectator sport, 2008 will be like an E-ticket at Disney World for you.

Speaking of spectator sports, I bet the Atlanta Falcons are hoping that they will wake up on New Year's Day and find that the whole 2007 season - on and off the field - was just a bad, bad dream. You know you are having a bad year when the late-night talk show hosts use your former star-quarterback's name more than they use Sen. Larry Craig's. Father Time is a merciful benefactor, however. Not only does he heal all wounds, but he also ends all seasons, eventually. When next September arrives, the Falcons will be undefeated, just like every other team in the league.

And on the local college front, Georgia Tech began '07 excited about the prospects of finally beating Georgia because Tashard Choice was coming back and Reggie Ball wasn't. The result of the annual state-rivalry game was just about like every other Tech-Georgia game this century, of course, and now, as we begin a new year, the Tech fans are certain they will beat Georgia next November because Paul Johnson is on board and Chan Gailey isn't.

I'll go out on a limb here and predict that this time next year, I'll be denoting Georgia's eighth win in a row.

It wasn't exactly a banner year in Hollywood. Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, Britney Spears, Nicole Richie, Mel Gibson and Keifer Sutherland - just to name a few - all ran afoul of the law. If it hadn't been for sequels and sequels to sequels, we would hardly have had any blockbuster movies to watch, and the late-fall writer's strike meant that the television re-run season began roughly about a commercial-and-a-half after the season premiers.

There will be better days ahead for Hollywood, though. They have already thrown my two favorite actors, Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, into a movie together, so that has to be a sign of bigger and better things to come.

Here in Georgia, rain was the big story in 2007 - or lack thereof. And the lakes are down and the lawns are dead and dying and when it does rain, the TV weather guys can't wait to tell us that "it won't really help end the drought." But, hey, on Jan. 1, our deficit for the year is zero. So there!

Besides, Sonny Perdue is certain to bend over backward to pray up some more rain. He has invited the whole world to come to Perry and go fishing, and you know he needs those multi-million dollar ponds filled.

On a personal note, I will always remember 2007 as the year I, and my family, finally made it to all 50 states. Someone asked me what you do for an encore. Well, there are 194 countries in the world, and I have only visited about five of them - so Bon Voyage, y'all, and Happy New Year.

Darrell Huckaby is a local author and educator. He can be reached at dHuck08@bellsouth.net.