Looking Back and Looking Ahead

          When we were younger, there was a very fanciful movie about Doctor Doolittle, who was famous for his ability to talk to animals. Not a lot of that masterpiece has remained in my memory banks, but there was one creature that was pretty unforgettable. Called a “PushMi- PullYu”, it looked like some sort of llama with a head on each end of it’s body.  Strange, but it did offer a unique perspective on life: the ability to look backwards and forwards at the same time.

          At the cusp of the 18th year of our millennium, I am pausing to straddle that thresh-hold. Every new year holds excitement, and this will be no exception. What a year we are leaving behind!
          Hubby and I started out with our first excursion out of the United States. We discovered the pleasures of being spoiled on a floating hotel in the Caribbean.  The beautiful water and sunny beaches in the Bahamas were wonderfully refreshing, especially while our Arkansas neighbors were experiencing one of the few very cold weeks of the year. It was just as much fun, though, to walk around the big ship itself, sampling the food that was always available, trying our luck in the convenient casino, or watching a movie or football game on the jumbo sized screen that graced the top deck.
          We traveled to Texas in the spring for our oldest grandson’s band concert competition. Amazing to witness the difference music is making in his life!
          For an early summer excursion, we drove south and east to visit our brand-new sixth grandbaby. On that trip, we learned that we are not born wanderers. Where some people might enjoy side trips to see the local sights, we are more destination minded.  I gave up reading billboards to the driver to spark an interest in local flavor. When he has a goal in mind, and music blaring, he is all about getting to the next planned stop in the least amount of time. I did manage to see some new scenery as it flew past the passenger side window. Georgia and Alabama are pretty states, as best I could tell at 70 miles per hour.
          We also made some football related trips. In Texas we cheered from the home stands while our grandson marched with his band at a real live Friday Night Lights exhibition and a very intense competition on Saturday. Then, our Florida son came to Arkansas to gather up his dad and older brother for the college homecoming game on “The Hill” in Northwest Arkansas. Luckily, the Hogs won that day, but for the Carlisle boys, the final score was incidental. It was all about enjoying the club seats. In December, hubby and I traveled to Florida again to sit with the Bronco Road Warriors in a beautiful professional stadium in Miami. The final score of that game wasn’t pleasant, but the amazing winter weather made up for it.
On the same trip, we decided to soak up the sunshine in a rented convertible. While traversing the state, we discovered a quaint island where most of the traveling is done by bicycle, and the main intersection is regulated by volunteer traffic directors instead of a stoplight. The beach is literally covered with seashells, and the sunsets are gorgeous. For once, we relaxed enough to scrap the schedule, and stopped there for an extra day.
          In other news from 2017, I gained a new title, “Published author.” With connections gained at a writer’s conference in my Kansas hometown, and new technology that makes printing on demand too easy to be true, having an actual book in my hand became a reality. What a strange and wonderful feeling.
          So, what’s just over the horizon in the eighteenth year of our still new millennium?  Here in the Ouachita region, the grass roots historical organization I am involved with is persisting, and finding new targets for our excitement. Look for more events sponsored by Saline County Preservation, Inc. as we try to unify history lovers in their quest to keep the past alive for future generations.
          As for your intrepid columnist, I plan to concentrate on finding a home for my fictional projects. There will be one more assault on the traditional route of publication, pitching to agents and publishers who can navigate the ever-changing waters of marketing to the masses. And, with encouragement from a few new fans, there may be another little paperback available from the wilds of the Amazon.
          I’ve stopped trying to predict what’s up on the family front. There are no new grand-children in the chutes. I’m sure all six of the Carlisle cousins will be busy learning, playing and competing.  Travel possibilities abound. At least one of our kids is actively seeking a new job, and the head of the house-hold has installed a countdown to retirement on his cell-phone. So, suffice it to say, the never a dull moment adventure continues. As long as we try to follow our Creator’s plan, we will move ahead with confidence.

          Take a minute to look back, but don’t linger long. The future is bright ahead!
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