Nice to meet you, folks

I’m am not going to start this article by issuing any cliché happy New Year’s greetings like “As we embark upon this new year may we all be blessed with health, wealth and happiness,” or “I hope the new year provides you with lots of laughter and an abundance of blessings.”

The elements of life addressed in these customary salutations are certainly desirable and sought after, and I genuinely hope that every reader is granted these fortunes. Maybe it’s the historian in me, or the frequent discoveries of evidence suggesting that I live in the cultural past and only exist in the present day (or as I have often say, born into the wrong generation). Or maybe it’s how I yearn for humanity to turn back to some of the old and more compassionate ways. Personally, gazing into the future recurrently spawns uneasiness.

I’m more of an “Auld Lang Syne” type of person, which means “days gone by” or “the good old times.”

The song “Auld Lang Syne” originates from a 1788 Scottish poem by Robert “Rabbie” Burns that calls for the preservation of our oldest, dearest friendships; perhaps observed in the reflective quality of New Year’s Eve itself. A time when people come together to recall past joys and sorrows, specifically those spent in each other’s company.

So is New Year’s the time to look forward, or to look back? Can you even do one without doing the other?

We are living in unprecedented times is a phrase I hear often. Someone please tell me when we have lived in precedented times! Every day is unprecedented! But, I think that now is the time for me to attempt to stand on my tippy toes, and just slightly peek over.

Last year generated the most trying times of my life thus far with thorns to the heart from a variety of sources. One being the loss of my special soul-sister and OLDEST friend (inside joke) and the obliteration of our unparalleled and irreplaceable relationship, due to COVID. Another being the death of my father-in-law, a wonderful man, and a pillar of the community.

Contrarily, one of my greatest joys (I can’t say THE greatest because one of my children might surprise me and read this) came into our family in October, 2021. Ellis Wren Powell. I am so grateful that God saw it fit to send me my son-in-law and then patch my heart with the birth of my first grandchild.

Watching and enjoying my middle child transform and grow has been a blessing. Finally beginning to figure out who you really are, is the best milestone. Her nephew sure loves to laugh at her and her brother loves to annoy her!

My only son is the youngest. I probably heard people describe him as “all boy” about a million times last year. I always thought to myself, “this kid goes way beyond all boy.”
I spent much of the year asking him to not do things like get on the roof, climb a tree while holding a homemade ladder, skateboard barefoot, or try to ride the cows. A lot of effort went into begging him not to show me whatever game animal he had killed or tell me about how he cleaned it. And to please take all squirrel meat to Grandmomma to cook.

In 2021, my son and I enjoyed picnics, hikes, swims in the creek and river, night walks down the dirt road where he always asked to hold my hand (pretty sure that was left back in 2021), many other adventures, and late night movies with popcorn. He and I both enjoyed the rare occasions when we could convince his 14-year-old sister to hang with us.

Over the last week, my son and I watched three versions of Swiss Family Robinson. Last night, we watched the one made in 1940. At the beginning of the iconic book turned movie, before the family departs for the chance at a better life in the colonies, the father talks about how he does not like what he sees regarding the men his four sons are growing to be and staunchly declares the following.

“This world we live in. We call it civilized and yet men are using their imagery to destroy one another. I believe that a man should create and not destroy. He should build, if it’s only a roof to give him shelter, a garden to give him food, or a loom to make his clothes.”

I will not begin to discuss how I may perceive the relation of this man’s 1813 philosophy to any 21st century ideology as everyone interprets their observations and life experiences differently, however, I think we should all take heed to this man’s words as the citation sounds so simple yet permeates so deep and wide.

We do not live in a one size fits all world and one thing I wish was more heavy on our minds is that there is often no right or wrong opinion or solution. We have to get closer to that point or all is lost.

I hope you all have enjoyed learning a little more about me and the unique and maybe even peculiar, and certainly not always quick and sharp labyrinthine that is my brain.

During the rest of this month, as we dive deeper into the new year, I will be outlining some stark differences and eerie similarities between the elements shaping the world on New Year’s 2022, compared to the components of life and humanity from 25, 50, 75, and 100 years ago.

I have always had an innate need to protect and share the distinct story that our area has to tell. I am overjoyed to have been put into a position with the paper where I can take actions that help me meet my life’s goal–to preserve and promote local history. I look forward to interacting with readers, and to the mysteries and discoveries I will come across during this journey with The Greenville Advocate where I have been graciously enabled to focus on my passion. The special excitement I obtain only through my fervor for days gone by, the deeper sense of purpose and identity, the connections that will be made, and the further understanding of cultures and traditions are things I am eagerly anticipating. It is my hope that through my writing, I can help others with similar passions for history and provide some knowledge of our origins to all readers.