I suppose we could call this weekend the calm before the storm. Or maybe it is the calm after the storm, especially for our neighbors along the nation's eastern corridor. The nation has gone through a year-and-a-half of one of the most contentious presidential campaigns since John Quincy Adams handed out "coffin handbills" and accused Andrew Jackson of being a murderer.
Old Hickory responded by accusing Adams of being a man of low morals who installed a gambling device in the White House. The device in question was a pool table.
It will be interesting to see how this whole drama unfolds Tuesday night and one cannot help but wonder if we will actually know the outcome of the election before bedtime -- or even by the next morning. In 2000, you will recall, we had to wait until the Sunday after Thanksgiving to learn that the Supreme Court had upheld the right of Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris to affirm that the Sunshine State had, indeed, voted for George W. Bush, thus delivering that state's electoral votes to the Republican candidate.
Lord, I hope it doesn't take a month to get to the bottom of this year's vote count.
Someone reminded me this week that I had been writing my opinions for this paper for 15 years now. I didn't believe them at first, so I started counting backward. After sitting down and taking off my shoes once I got past 10, I decided that they were right. That same person also commented on the fact that I seldom spoke of political matters when I first started writing my columns. Lightning bugs and rock school and remembrances of Southern icons such as Boxcar Willie and the Goat Man were more up my alley.
I can't confirm my friend's hypothesis. I can remember with great clarity things that happened in 1961, but sometimes find myself sitting at an intersection in Olde Town Conyers wondering which way I turn to get back to the house.
I do know that I have incurred the wrath of a lot of folks with my words. Even friends have gotten put out with me. My dear friend John Robinson used to chastise me in print any time I would write about my distaste for the practice of smoking in public, and heaven forbid I poke fun at his beloved Auburn Tigers. Others, who have never met me, assume all sorts of things about me through the words that appear in print and are often surprised to meet me and learn that I have neither horns nor a forked tail.
But so much has changed in our community and in our nation since this column first appeared on that Christmas Day so long ago. I have been dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century. When everyone else began using smartphones and texting, I still insisted that I had no need for a cellphone at all. Now I cannot go anywhere without my iPhone and seldom does 10 minutes pass without my checking it for some important bit of information.
After years of disparaging my friends and family members who choose to read books from an electronic screen this week I actually published my first book, "Need Two," on Kindle -- and am preparing to make the others available on that outlet.
But that's nothing. One of my Facebook friends told me that Henderson's Restaurant now takes credit cards. I haven't had the opportunity to see for myself, but I got my information from a pretty reliable source. What hath God wrought? Indeed.
But we were talking about the election.
Harry Truman was president when I was born and the nation has endured a lot since 1952. We liked Ike for eight years then elected a Roman Catholic from Boston and grieved over his assassination. LBJ tried to create a Great Society and we wound up with a social welfare state instead. We survived the Vietnam War and Nixon's Watergate scandal. Gerald Ford kept the chair in the Oval Office warm until Jimmy Carter won election. Somehow we survived that mistake, too. We saw Reagan serve for two terms before the first George Bush took office and then endured Clinton, Bush II and four years of Barack Obama.
Now we await the next verdict of "we the people" as to who will lead this great experiment that is America through the next four years. Whoever wins, we must trust in the hand of Divine Providence to keep us going. Whatever the verdict, I am glad the campaign is drawing to a close. I have a great new story about the Goat Man to share with you.
Darrell Huckaby is a local educator and author. Email him at email@example.com. To read past columns, visit www.rockdalecitizen.com or www.newtoncitizen.com.