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HUCKABY: A lot can happen in 10 years

Can you believe another decade is almost gone? Not a year, mind you, a decade. I wish I could remember back to when we were about to party like it was 1999 — I mean really remember — what I thought the decade to come would bring. I can absolutely assure you that I couldn't have written the script that would play out in this nation — or on the world's stage, either, for that matter.

Our biggest fear, as we approached the new millennium, was that the ATMs would all malfunction and we wouldn't be able to put our hands on enough cash for a day or two. Some people took the Y2K phobia to a whole different level, of course, and horded water, cash, canned food and ammo. But those were the same folks who built fallout shelters in the aftermath of the Cuban missile crisis back in the early '60s.

Economists were warning us that the dot-com-fueled economy was about to take a downward dip, but most of us didn't pay them much attention. We were too busy debating whether the 21st century actually started on Jan. 1, 2000 — as the partyers in Times Square insisted — or in 2001, as logic indicated.

Most of us went with the partyers.

And now here we are, ready to say good-bye to the "noughts" — did anyone really embrace that term? — and say hello to the ... well, I'm not sure what we will call the next 10 years, either. There is a good chance I won't be around to welcome the twenties, so I'll just say hello to 2010, and I think I will call it "twenty-ten" and not "two-thousand-ten." You, of course, can call it anything you want to.

The bizarre election in 2000 still stands out in my mind. We all saw more than we wanted to see of hanging chads and Palm Beach County poll workers in polyester sweaters looking at punch card ballots through a magnifying glass.

The year 2001 did not bring us a space odyssey, but it did bring us an event that would forever change life in this country as we knew it. It was our generation's Pearl Harbor, but I fear that we have forgotten the terror of that September day all too quickly. I think they should show clips of those planes flying into the towers every night on every television station. And yes, we could — 10 years ago we could board an airplane without taking off our shoes.

But tell the truth, 10 years ago who would have ever believed that we, as a nation, would have witnessed the amazing inauguration that we saw in January, proving, once again, that the United States of America is the greatest nation on the face of the Earth? Let me explain that statement.

I do not like the politics of Barack Obama and I do not respect him as a person. Quite frankly, the fact that so many people could have voted for a man of his limited experience and accomplishments worries me, too. None of the above changes the fact that we elected an African-American to our highest position less than 50 years after Bloody Sunday in Selma, Ala., reminded the world that in some parts of this nation black folks were still being denied the right to cast a ballot — and that, my friends, makes us a truly remarkable nation. The inauguration of Barack Obama underscores that fact, as does my right to publicly state my disdain for him as an individual, while maintaining the utmost respect for his office.

When 2000 arrived, if you wanted to talk to me on the phone you had to call my house. Now, I can text, and my lovely wife, Lisa, and all my kids carry computers around in their pocket in the guise of iPhones. I have a Facebook account, and a high-definition television with a DVR that lets me record as many shows as I'd like whether I am here or not — and there is still nothing on TV.

Speaking of TV, 10 years ago nobody had ever been voted off the island, House was still an intern and McDreamy was in med school. Tony Soprano was still earning his bones, and "Lost" meant that you didn't know Jesus. I didn't leave out "American Idol." I ignored it on purpose.

Here are a few more things to remember, many of which we would like to forget. Tsunami, Katrina, global warming, al-Qaida and Kim Jong-Il. And who would have ever believed that men would be able to marry men in half a dozen states? The times, they really are a changin'.

And who ever thought that Tiger Woods, who was better at what he did during the past 10 years than anybody else was at what they did, would end the decade making Michael Vick look like a class act in comparison?

Makes you kind of wonder what the next 10 years will bring, doesn't it? I hope I can stick around to find out.

Darrell Huckaby is an author and teacher in Rockdale County. E-mail him at dhuck08@bellsouth.net.