As I’ve gotten older, I’ve spent more time reflecting about life. I’ve drawn certain conclusions and, in particular, how it often doesn’t “work” like you think it’s going to work. Let’s look, together, at just the recent past for me to make my case for the certainty of uncertainty.
Perhaps a good starting point is SEC football. For the past many years, if you couldn’t count on lots of things, you could count on the SEC. Was this true in 2016? I don’t think so.
Florida State beats Florida. Clemson beats South Carolina. Georgia Tech beats Georgia. Then Vanderbilt (an academic school) beats those “Rocky Top folks” and Kentucky (a basketball school) beats Louisville (a football/basketball school). We did receive expectations from Alabama, of course, but one out of six is certainly not lots of certainty. Better luck next year, SEC.
The football turmoil brings my mind to the political turmoil. The recent presidential marathon race (didn’t it start several years ago?), carried with it great uncertainty. Now you can find a goodly number of folks who will tell you, “I knew Trump was going to win all along.” But there are a number of “know-it-alls” that have grown like Georgia kudzu in the last three or four months. My view? There were huge amounts of “bizarre” and “uncertainty” in this year’s presidential race.
We lost our wonderful dog, Hershey, the day after Thanksgiving. We knew she was old (13 and a half years or the equivalent of about 94 or 95 “man years”), but we weren’t ready to give her up and thought we could keep her two or three more years. Then, the “sweetest dog in America” was gone. We still have a deep sadness and are missing our Hershey.
We haven’t seen lack of rain like we had at our place since 1954. Actually, it wasn’t “our place” in 1954 (60 years ago) and it won’t be our place in 2054. We start thinking like it will be our place, forever, and then it’s not. Death, sale, forced or voluntary, inheritance by others. Realistically, we just get to occupy it for a while and try to pay for it while we do.
Back to the rain, or lack thereof. The last rain of any measurable amount that we got there, until a few days ago, was on September 12. So it was 74 days without and with many of the days being 90 degrees plus. It, as I said above, reminded me of 1954, from what I remember and what Daddy told me. A major difference is that in 1954 no one had any idea when it would rain again, if ever. Today, you are bombarded by when “another storm is going to strike,” and sometimes they are actually right!
This is sad, really sad. Our good friends, Phillip and Mary Hart Wilheit, of Gainsville, Georgia, moved in to their beautiful new home on Lake Lanier about six months ago. One night this past week, they built a fire in the fireplace and sat down to eat dinner (supper?). They began to smell smoke and realized the house was on fire. It burned to the ground with almost all of their beautiful “things” lost. Think of losing all of your papers, pictures, records, photographs, shotguns, works of art, and sense of safety. Fortunately, Phillip and Mary Hart were not hurt. Still, this is very traumatic and sad.
Were you in business in 2008? Were you perhaps in banking or real estate (development, sales agent, building)? Do you know how it was for several years after ’08? Perhaps you survived. Maybe you lost everything you had. Lots of uncertainty. It’s better now, but it won’t stay this good forever.
So, you’ve got a good, sophisticated business that’s doing well. Of course, you depend on hi-tech to keep it rolling and you’ve got this in abundance. Frankly, you’re pretty smug about the good job you and your folks have done in reaching this point. Well, you’d better be cautious, alert and careful. Cyber crime and scams are on the rise and could become rampant.
About 25 years ago, I told Janice that the way our country would be subverted is that “the Russians will overfly us with satellites and will erase all of our computers.” Of course, this did not happen (or, it hasn’t happened) and it was uttered by someone who knows little about computers and technology. But, with the dramatic increase of cyber scams, there is lots about which to be concerned — lots of uncertainty.
My old fishing buddies, Billy Bledsoe, Hilt Gray and Seabie Hickson are gone. That was to be expected, they were older. My “Texas Steel Company” buddies, Jerry Wilson, Jerry Horton and Bobby Jones are gone. They were all a little younger and I don’t understand why they left before I did. I miss all six of them. Life and death are really uncertain.
Weather. New diseases. Life and death. The economy. Crime. Culture changes. Cyber security. Government. Gun control. Guns. Nuclear weapons. Climate. Perhaps the Dawgs will do better next year and the SEC will settle down. I hope so. But, regardless, there will be much uncertainty.
Larry Walker is a practicing attorney in Perry. He served 32 years in the Georgia General Assembly and presently serves on the University System of Georgia Board of Regents. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.