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Working together in the new year

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By Jim Clark

When you get a little older, the years just seem to fly by.

That's the case for me, as I find it hard to believe that it's almost 2008. Growing up, I can remember when a book like 1984 and a movie such as 2001: A Space Odyssey were science fiction.

Now, a lot of the "Big Brother" mentality in 1984 is surfacing, and we have people wandering around space as if it were their own back yards.

I'd rather stick to the problems here on Earth as we head into the new year, and not worry about asteroids striking Mars or other such things.

I spent part of Christmas Day with family. We all gathered at my daughter's house in Francis, outside Palatka, and it started with diced ham and scrambled eggs and pancakes for breakfast. Then there were gift openings, and later in the day more food was planned and more gifts were opened.

I left a little early to continue my fight against my annual winter cold, but as I drove home I couldn't help but think about how many other people might not have had family to visit. It started when I saw a woman, maybe in her 40s, walking up a back road with a convenience store bag in her hand, not looking very cheerful.

I took note of the number of other cars on the road, and there weren't many, that had lone drivers. Where were they going? Had they been with family like me? Were they going to be with family? Or were they alone, just riding around?

Just read about all the shelters, all the food pantries, all the free dinners put on by organizations, and you realize that there are an awful lot of people out there who need help of one kind or another, or maybe they just need a friend.

Somehow we've almost developed a caste system here in the U.S., where those who have can enjoy what's going on around them and those who have not, well, they just exist from day to day.

Wouldn't it be nice in the new year if everyone made a special effort to keep families intact? Wouldn't it be nice if everyone had someone to spend the holidays with?

There are people all over the world in trouble, and as good human beings we should be trying to help them. But shouldn't we also be putting forth a huge effort here at home to help our own?

I just ask you to think of others as you celebrate New Year's Eve and the beginning of 2008. Let's make it a banner year.

PLEASE DON'T DRINK AND DRIVE: New Year's Eve is always one of the worst nights for drunk driving. I always stay off the road as much as possible for fear of the other guy.

So please be careful next Monday. We want you all back later that week.

CONVENIENCE STORES: Earlier I mentioned a women walking from a convenience store. Many stores I drove by on Tuesday were open.

I hope if you had occasion to go the store that day that you thanked the clerk for being there. I know, it's their job, but still it would be nice for showing some appreciation for someone making it possible for you to buy whatever you need.

And if you didn't, maybe you'll see that clerk again, and remember to give them thanks.

Jim Clark is the editor of the Williston Pioneer Sun News. He can be reached at editor@willistonpioneer.com or at 528-3343.