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Silver Threads: New worries for the new year

Bettye Anding

Bettye Anding

Back when I was much, much younger I used to wonder why the staffs of residences for the elderly found it necessary to post signs proclaiming the day of the week in prominent places throughout the building.

As age crept up on me, too, I began to know why: Older folks, not particularly tied to a schedule, sometimes fail to distinguish Fridays from Saturdays or Mondays from Thursdays unless somebody comes by to tell them it‘s really Tuesday. I now have problems with that myself, especially in recent days with Christmas and New Year’s falling this year on Wednesdays. The festivities on those days and their eves account for my confusion: Big partying usually takes place on weekends, doesn’t it? And then you wake up and it’s Sunday, isn’t it? Oh, never mind; you’ll be there too one day.

Anyhow, I checked the dateline under the newspaper’s masthead this morning, and it is indeed Monday, Dec. 30, so I’m entitled to write a column looking back as well as ahead, even though it will appear on New Year’s Day.

Last year at this time some of us were worrying about whether we — or anything else — would be here on January 1, 2013. That was because scholars had read into the Mayan calendar a prophecy of the approaching of the world’s end, not just the beginning of a new era. Other scholars finally relieved us by figuring out what was really being foretold.

That was the big concern of 2012, probably the biggest since Y2K in 1999, when lots of folks were almost hysterical, many of them geeks and IT people who’d persuaded some regular people that all the computers in the world would be messed up when the clock ticked around to the year 2000. I never understood how and why this was going to happen, just thought it might not be a good idea to be in an elevator or on an airplane at that time.

Nothing scary surfaced in the wind-down of 2013, unless you count the recent musings of Edwin Edwards as to whether he will run again for governor of Louisiana, and that’s certainly not a worldwide threat, nor even a local one now, because his reality show has been pulled and that must tell him something.

Also quickly put to rest was the anxiety over whether the “Duck Dynasty” patriarch would be reinstated on his show on A&E, and he has — just in time to finish the year happily — and now all of us can hunker down and watch a bunch of guys badly in need of beard-trimmings continue to cross our television screens during the new year. Would the “Dynasty” cast of characters have gone on without Big Daddy? Now we’ll never need to know.

Speaking locally again, another of the big concerns of 2013 has been whether or not the Saints would make the playoffs. It was a knuckle-gnawing uncertainty that mercifully was handily put to rest on Sunday.

The big concern of 2014 is, as they say, “waiting in the wings,” maybe to take center stage tomorrow or in three or six or even nine months from now. (Note that this column does not concern itself with war or pestilence, only with matters grave enough to capture the attention of folks who turn to the features section of a newspaper first.) In the meantime, here are some pressing questions for the new year:

  • Will the Brennans kiss and make up? Will Ralph be able to use the family name — and the rooster — on his newest restaurant?
  • Will John Goodman win an Oscar for most appearances in a slew of hit movies? We hope so; way to go, John.
  • Will oysters and crabmeat get cheap enough for us to feast on them regularly again?
  • Will the “Only in Louisiana” tourism campaigners ramp up their efforts to the point that by the end of ‘14 we’ll all be wearing costumes, and not just on Mardi Gras?
  • Will the Saints make the playoffs in 2014?

Bettye Anding is a former editor of the Living section of The Times Picayune, for which she wrote “Silver Threads” until her retirement. Email comments to her at


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