By PETTUS READ
Just the other day, I picked up my annual Normal Rockwell calendar from the drug store for 2015, and as I thumbed through the months, checking out the next years dates, I began to feel a little sorry for 2014. Many people are glad to leave one year and move to another, due to a year full of problems, but I have been one to always enjoy the past. I feel with history you know what you have had and with the future there is certainly a lot of unknowns.
However, in just a few days, it will become one of the years of the past and another time of only remembrance of yesterday.
All of our thoughts and concerns during these last days of 2014 have been directed to what is going to happen to this nation when we turn our calendars over to the New Year. The last few weeks have been spent with people watching the news and debating issues that seem to never go away. Maybe, in the next 365 days that will change, but if it doesn't, then maybe we will change.
I know the excitement of a new year and what it will bring is where we like to direct our thoughts during this time, but there were 365 days in this year that could also use our respect. The year 2014 has possibly seen as many changes in the way we do things as any so far in the 21st century. Cell phones have become the norm for all of us to the point where it is the normal standard to make an announcement before every event, including church and funerals, to silence them. This year, they have made it possible for us to even watch TV with these devices (which we really need more of) and the iPhone 6 has replaced cellulite on the hip.
More people filed their income taxes electronically this year and refunds were received faster, as well as spent sooner. We now have our paychecks automatically deposited and no longer receive the enjoyment of knowing what it is like to really see how much we have earned when we do cash a check at the bank.
Things that only appeared in comic books when I was a kid have become a part of our everyday lives. Our pets are implanted with chips so they can be identified easier while our identity is being stolen faster. We now can Google electronic maps right from our phones to help us locate people we never go visit in the first place. We have visited more people this year with Facebook, without leaving the house, than ever before, but also with this same social media we are capable of making a mistake with the whole world knowing it in a manner of seconds.
Farmers drive tractors using information from satellites in space and have the ability to produce more than ever before. We also have seen the increased interest in buying local and growing things in our own backyards.
It is amazing how we seem to want to know the future before we take the time to take care of current business. The year 2014 could be one of the most unusual years that we have ever seen, but we all may overlook it trying to see what is going to happen at this year's New Year's Eve party.
The year 2014 was an election year for many. We saw changes in Congress, our state and counties. Each will be facing new as well as old issues, but hopefully with fresh ideas.
Just what does 2015 hold for us? That's a question that no one on this earth can answer. Will we have a good economy, better farm prices, a cure for cancer, normal weather conditions, non-normal weather conditions or whatever? That is yet to be seen.
I do know that it will contain 365 days, with each day using 24 hours, no more or no less. It will have a first day of spring, summer, fall and winter that will give all of us something to look forward to. There will be a Valentine's Day for giving flowers and expressing our love, an Easter with jellybeans and brightly colored eggs, as well as a last day of school before summer vacation.
We will honor our war dead on Memorial Day with flags and speeches, and celebrate our country's birthday on July 4 with watermelons and fireworks.
The year will contain cookouts, family visits, a fun-filled Halloween, a thankful Thanksgiving and a merry Christmas.
In between all of this, there will also be days of our usual work, paying bills, buying groceries, going to school and helping others. However, each day will be whatever we make it. The important thing is to take care of each day and make the best of it.
Nobody really knows what this next year will include, but the important thing is not to let it go by without giving it a chance. The "Good Book" tells us that no one knows what the morrow may bring.
Happy New Year!
-Pettus L. Read writes for the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation. He may be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org