Could never imagine changes that have occurred

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 8, 2000

Come Friday night, we'll be faced with an event that none of us has ever experienced before.

We'll all share in the change

of not only the century, but also the millennium. It's a safe assumption that while a few may have seen the dawn of the twentieth century, nobody's around that saw the dawn of the second millennium (even though I once ate some vienna sausages that might have seen service with King Arthur).

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I remember when I was much younger how I would think about the year 2000. All this hit me the first time when the 70's came ringing in because it was the first decade that I could actually participate in the ceremony (considering I was three in 1960, bedtime came way before midnight). But in 1970…wow! My world had already changed in so many ways in the past six months, seeing that man had landed on the moon, nature had decided that puberty should be in full swing, and I discovered this thing called…girls.

My great-grandmother, Mama, passed away the day before New Year's Eve 1969. I got to stay up to celebrate a new decade, but it was rather bittersweet since we would lay Mama next to her husband and family in Seller's Cemetery the next day. Mama was born before there was manned flight or electricity or TV, but she left this world after those, and many more miracles had occurred. It came to me, as we listened to that last "amen" on a cold New Years Day that she had seen a lot.

I think I've seen more than Mama, though. The world We live in (heck, the fact that I'm writing this on a laptop computer) has gone so fast that I truly believe that one day we're gonna pass ourselves coming or going. We live in a world where we are chained to daily life by cell phones and e-mail and faxes and all the other miraculous things that make up our lives. There is no way, in my wildest imagination, that I could ever have thought that my life at the millennium would ever be surrounded by what it is.

As I sat there thinking in 1970, the world of my youth was ablaze with men not much older than me dying in Southeast Asia, a country divided by color and birthright, and a final sense of naivete about how we really lived. It hit me that in 2000 I would be 43 years old, an impossible number to comprehend for a teenager. Would I ever imagine that at that age I would head up a statewide association, or pastor a church, or be married and have a child? Would I imagine that I would have buried too many friends and missed too many chances to tell someone that I loved them? Would I imagine that I would live in a world where innocence is a precious commodity and lack of conscience would be a surplus?

But that's the best part of it all…I couldn't imagine it. I can't imagine the changes and places and adventures that still await me (I hope). I can't imagine all the people whose acquaintance I've yet to make, or the places I've yet to see, or not being a son of the South. I have no desire to be clairvoyant: I want to experience life sixty seconds to the minute, sixty minutes to the hour, twenty four hours to the day, all the days of my life.

Most of all, I can't imagine a time where we can't visit and reminisce and carry on about good time past. I'm looking forward to the next century and all that it has to bring. I wish everyone a wonderful and prosperous New Year, New Ccntury, and New Millennium.

See you in the twenty-first century!