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DARRELL HUCKABY: Welcoming 2014 after a tumultuous year

If we make it ‘til midnight Tuesday, y’all, another year will have come and gone. Tempus Fugit! Time flies! And when you get as long in the tooth as I am, time moves at supersonic speeds. I sat down the other day and in the words of Jimmy Buffet, “tried to recall the whole year.” There was a lot to remember because the year has been a tad tumultuous.

Race has been at the forefront of many of our biggest news stories. Remember the Zimmermann trial? Yes, that was this year. People from the president of the United States up chose sides in the trial, with most opinions being formed along racial lines. Zimmermann was found not guilty of murder. No one denied he was a jerk, however, and he continues to prove that on a regular basis.

No sooner had the dust settled after Zimmermann’s trial than Paula Deen was caught up in a giant brouhaha over her use of the hated n-word. Many of her sponsors dropped her like a hot bowl of grits, but Southern gals are nothing if not resilient. Paula has landed on her feet and while the rest of the country may not be as involved with the lady and her sons, she is doing just fine and dandy down in the historic city of Savannah.

The issues of gay rights and freedom of speech intertwined for a second consecutive year. In 2012, you will recall, the Cathy family did more business in a week than most fast food chains do in a month when their fans flocked to support the closed-on-Sundays chicken chain after their stance in favor of traditional marriage was questioned. They were dropped from a couple of college campuses but their overall business is stronger than ever.

This year, of course, A&E picked a fight with “Duck Dynasty” star Phil Roberts and Cracker Barrel quickly jumped in, angering rednecks all over the country. The network and the wishy-washy restaurant chain quickly cried “uncle” however and welcomed Phil and his clan — and their legion of followers — back into the fold. Just goes to show that when it comes to money versus principle, principle usually finishes a distant second.

The lie of the year was from the president of the United States. (In other news, water is wet.) Obama promised that Americans who were satisfied with their health insurance plans could keep them. Can you say, “bold faced?” But what else is new?

Patriot’s Day turned into a chaotic scene of terror in Boston as two deadly explosions near the finish line marred the Boston Marathon. The city showed its mettle, however, and showed the world that if you mess with Boston, they will close down the city and hunt you down and catch you.

In England they celebrated a royal birth and at the Vatican they transitioned to another pope and in Syria, a civil war raged. (In other news, the desert is dry.)

In sports, the Red Sox won the World Series and the Atlanta Falcons, who began the year as Super Bowl contenders, had their wings clipped and fell to the second tier of the National Football League. Auburn coach Gus Malzahn spent the off-season standing at the crossroads of U.S. 61 and U.S. 49 in Clarksdale, Miss., at midnight, where he, apparently, sold his soul to the devil. There is no other explanation for the Tigers’ turnaround and the improbable endings of their last two games.

Georgia continued its dominance over Georgia Tech in football. (In other news the new pope is Catholic.) This time the Dogs spotted the Yellow Jackets 20 points on their own field, just to make things interesting, before outscoring them 41—14 over the last 31 minutes and overtime.

Among the notable deaths in 2013 were Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa and Citizen of the World and George Jones, “Old Possum,” whom many referred to simply as “The Voice.” The world may never see another Mandela and country music will most certainly never see another George Jones.

Here in Georgia, while the Arthur Blank promised to hold his breath and turn blue if the city of Atlanta didn’t force the taxpayers to help build him a new stadium, the Braves quietly made a deal to build a ballpark in the Cobb County suburbs. 2017 might seem too far away to worry about it right now, but 2014 seemed far away not too long ago and it is knocking on our doorstep right this minute.

And how was my 2013? Well, I have lived through it, which is a major coup for me — and when I say lived, I mean really lived. I wrote over 200 columns for various publications, made 217 speaking engagements and traveled to 17 states, including (Boston) Massachusetts, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and New York (NYC), as well as Italy, Greece, Turkey and Croatia. I spent some time in Porterdale, as well.

It was a great year, but I am eager to see it gone, because I know that 2014 will be even better. After all, it isn’t every year that a man becomes a grandfather for the first time.