January gets its name from the two-faced Roman god Janus, the keeper of gates. He was supposed to be in charge of new beginnings — and of closing the door on the past. Good work, I suppose, if you can get it.
I choose not to look back at where I’ve been, at least not for the time being. I’d rather look down that hopeful road to the future. Did I tell you I’m going to be a grandpa? Well, that’s what they tell me — and I can’t wait. Last August, we were all atwitter around the Huckaby household as we prepared for the wedding of the century between my oldest daughter, Jamie Leigh, and her husband-to-be, Chris Fairchild.
This August will be filled with anticipation, as well. My daughter and my new son-in-law will be celebrating their first anniversary by welcoming a new baby. Now I know that your children and grandchildren are cute as can be and smart beyond compare, but come the first of August, I am certain that Lisa and I will be the grandparents of the cutest and smartest baby in the history or reproduction — not to mention the most spoiled.
I promise not to write about this prodigy-to-be more than a couple of times a week.
I plan on staying extra busy this year so maybe the time will pass quickly.
January and February will be spent following my favorite basketball team — the North Oconee Lady Titans. (My son is an assistant coach.) I have missed most of the December games and have thus incurred the wrath of Lee Channel. You don’t want to get on her bad side, trust me. I will be more persistent in my attendance henceforth.
In March, I am taking 50 of my soon-to-be closest friends to Israel with me, to celebrate my 62nd birthday. I am going to wade in the Jordan River and ride in a boat across the Sea of Galilee. I might even decide to step out of the boat and go for a little walk. If Simon Peter and Bear Bryant could do it, surely I can, too.
If I visit the Middle East for ten days without causing an international incident they should give me the Nobel Peace Prize. I lost 129 Facebook friends while watching the stinking Gator Bowl game on New Year’s Day.
Around Mother’s Day I will release my 12th book—“Still Southern after all these Years.” It will be funny, timely, historically accurate and packed with politically incorrect observations about life in the American South in the early 21st century.
I have a couple of other big trips planned this year, too. I have always wanted to visit Normandy. I have dreamed of standing above those hallowed beaches where thousands of Americans and American allies gave their all to rid the World of Hitler and his cronies. This summer — God willing — around the 70th anniversary — I plan on making that dream a reality. I figured I might as well visit Churchill’s as long as I was going across the pond — and Paris, Munich, Berlin, Strasburg and maybe Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest and a couple of concentration camps.
There is still a lot of this country that I want to see — for the second, third or fourth time — too, so in July I am going to head west to grow up with the country. I want to revisit Cheyenne, Wyo., and buy a nice cowboy hat and ride the wildlife loop at Custer State Park, looking for buffalo and moose and bears and begging burrows, and I want to see The Badlands and Mount Rushmore and sit in a saloon in Deadwood, S.D. I want to go to one more rodeo in Cody on the Fourth of July and tour Yellowstone again and gaze at the majesty of the Grand Tetons.
Yes, I have a big year planned in 2014, and when I am home I hope to be able to share my faith and preach the Lord’s gospel to those who haven’t heard it — and to those who need to hear it through brand new ears.
There is so much to look forward to. Why in the world would anyone consider spending too much time looking backward?
You are welcome to wallow in the remnants of 2013. I am eager to stride into 2014 with excitement and anticipation. To paraphrase my good friend, Lou Richt, I think it is going to be the “greatest year of my life.”
I hope it is yours, too.
Darrell Huckaby is an author in Rockdale County. Email him at darrellhuckaby.net.