Happy New Year, y'all.
- Finally a year I know how to pronounce. Twenty-twelve. It's going to be a great year. Know how I know? Because it ends in "two" and just like baseball's "been very, very good" to Garrett Morris of SNL fame, years that end in two have been very, very good to me.
To begin with, I was born in 1952 -- and being born was a very fortuitous happenstance. Honesty compels me to admit that I don't remember much of what went on that year, but I have heard that Eisenhower got elected and everybody liked Ike, or at least so the campaign buttons claim.
1962 is much clearer to me. I was 10, which is about the perfect age. I was old enough to understand baseball but too young to care that I didn't understood girls. 1962 was the year Topps surrounded the portraits on their baseball cards with wood-grain paneling. I still have my Mickey Mantle card from that year and it is in almost mint condition. And, no -- I am not interested in selling. The Yankees won the 1962 World Series against the San Francisco Giants. The combined rosters of the two teams included seven future Hall of Famers, and Ralph Terry was the MVP.
John Glenn orbited the earth and in the fall JFK stared down Khrushchev and Khrushchev blinked. Marilyn Monroe also died that year, which wasn't a good thing but it certainly made an impression, even on a 10-year-old who didn't care if he understood girls or not.
1972 was a great year, too -- because I spent it on the campus of the University of Georgia, hallowed be thy name. I have heard a lot of people say they didn't realize how good they had it in college until they graduated and went to work for a living. Believe me; I knew exactly how good I had it. 972 was the year Earl Fales and Mike Castronis taught me to square dance, and if someone has a copy of "Salty Dog Rag," I bet I can still ball the jack with the best of them.
1972 was the year of the remarkable Munich Olympics in which Mark Spitz won seven gold medals and 11 members of the Israeli team were tragically murdered. I remember being glued to the television set all day and into the night as a sportscast became a newscast instantaneously.
A decade later, in 1982, my lovely wife Lisa and I were married and spent most of the year celebrating our upcoming nuptials. Oh to be young and in love! In other highlights of the year Graceland was opened to the general public, and I was among the first of the regular folk to visit the Jungle Room. It's hard to say which was more exciting -- getting married or seeing where Elvis lived.
In 1992 our third child was born, completing our family. Money was good and we spent our 10th anniversary year in wedded bliss. The Rodney King riots garnered attention across the nation and Johnny Carson took his final bow, but all in all, the year was a prosperous and happy one for me and mine. I'd gladly relive it, which is something I wouldn't say about the recently deposed 2011.
2002? Well, I turned 50, and it was pretty painless. I was well established in my co-career of educator and writer and Georgia won the SEC Championship and my entire family and I said goodbye to the old year on Bourbon Street in New Orleans.
So here we are at 2012 and I can't wait to see what it holds. It is an election year, of course, and I have always said that, next to college football, politics is my favorite spectator sport. Whatever else the primaries and general election might be, they will be entertaining -- and exciting, too, with the fate of the nation hanging in the balance.
It is also an Olympic Year. The "youth of the world" have been called upon to assemble in London this year. Who can say what drama the summer games might bring? Will there be another remarkable performance by Michael Phelps? Most assuredly someone most of us have never heard of will become a household name.
For the first time in a long time we begin a year without boots on the ground in Iraq. Perhaps this will be the year that the war winds down on other fronts as well. The poet spoke of "the hope which springs eternal," and why not? Why not be hopeful? We have a brand new year, full of brand new opportunities -- and with 2012 being a leap year we have an extra day to fulfill all the promises we've made to ourselves.
Happy New Year, y'all. I hope it is the best yet. I'm determined that it will be for me and mine.