By Bob Weaver/New Years Eve 1999

The new millennium is a few ticks away, and most of us will pass across this historical moment, we will use it to illuminate our condition and progress - it's cultural, financial and religious ties.

It will be a time of inventory taking, with elements of fear and uncertainly wrapped in a grand celebration.

We'll think of the passages, thresholds, horizons, achievements and changes of the past 2000 years.

It's mind boggling!

Progress has it's paradoxes, and despite the wealth of human achievement, we paradoxically have deep rooted problems in our society, worrisome and unresolved.

I have often said that Calhoun County, unlike most parts of America, is barely out of the wilderness.

It has only been a short time ago that we got some paved roads, that bridges replaced ferries on the Little Kanawha, the crank phone was eliminated, and electric came to our rural villages.

It was a long journey when we traveled out of the county to Parkersburg or Charleston, and roads have improved some in the past 50 years.

They follow the same pick and shovel routes dug out in the early part of the century.

In many ways we are still an isolated bunch, and some feel that is a virtue.

Our ancestors over 100 years ago rarely crossed the county line, let alone the Ohio River or out of state.

Calhoun remains a safe, unspoiled and beautiful place, mostly undeveloped.

Life has dramatically changed on the one hand. On the other, we seem so far behind, particularly when it comes to providing basic job opportunities and services, which the rest of the world seems to gloat about, not the least to obtain real broadband access.

It has been a political promise to held rural areas to develop businesses and become better educated, a personal battle to which I have been dedicated.

Calhoun's farming economy and cultural life was uplifted in the early part of this century with the oil and gas boom, but even that has faded and our children had to leave to find even basic jobs by the 1950's.

I once pledged to quit telling people about all the stores, jobs and activity in the county - the way "things use to be."

Now, the rush is on in the 21st Century.

The information age is pushing aside the industrial age (which mostly ignored Calhoun and West Virginia's rural counties anyway) leaving an empty feeling of being left behind.

I find it disappointing how little we know about our own county and it's people since 1856, folks are not much interested in history and civics.

It this new millennium we will likely continue to use strong survival skills while we entertain ourselves to death with media to take our mind away from troubles.

For a history example, fifty families lived on or near the Husk Ridge, close my home, during the first part of this century.

Now there are none.

Their names, struggles, hopes, and dreams, lost and forgotten, except a few stories we have dredged for the Herald.

So, here comes 2000.

It is likely that most of us will stay up to the midnight tick, even without the media hype, and look up and out across our hills with wonderment and contemplation about what is next.

There will be plenty of trinkets, booklets, novels, TV shows, movies, tunes, extravaganzas, fireworks, choirs and political speeches.

The end of the world will be prophesied by Jerry Falwell and others, and some folks on the fuzzy fringe will act strange, maybe even dangerous. Y2K will come and go, likely fleecing some folks.

The Christian world will rightfully reflect on the impact of Christ during the past 2000 years, considered by many to be the most significant event of the ages.

Other spiritual beliefs give countenance to different Gods and higher powers.

Steven Hawking, the eminent physicist and possibly the most brilliant mind since Albert Einstein, acknowledges the mystical connection between physics and the unknown.

The question has been and still remains - where did it start? What started it? Who started it? What was there before? And where is it going?

Fortunately we have theologians who have such answers and those who understand and are willing to explain it to us. Surely, we can all mind-buzz with these questions later in the the new millennium.

Hawking said that when we have the answers, then we will understand God.

So, when the big 2000 rollover happens, we will think about all these things, like it or not, after which life will return to its abnormal.

If we are fortunate, that Great Power will still be in charge.

Postscript: My 87-year-old dad wanted to live into the new millennium. He read this little column and said "That's about the way it is."

On New Year's Eve he joined with our family and lots of friends for a giant bonfire on Hur Hill and lots of fireworks.

He was not feeling well, but expressed great joy about being there at that time, in that place. Tears fell down his cheeks. "Well, I made it. Seen a lot, you know," he said.

Nine months later he died.

Welcome to the 21st Century/

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