1 January 2014 **** Front Page

It Was a Very Good Year

By Laura L. Klure

Was 2013 a good year, or was it a bad year? It seems like every year I can recall has had aspects falling on both sides, and 2013 was no exception. I think that observation is true personally, locally, nationally, and world-wide.

The song “It Was a Very Good Year” was composed in 1961 by Ervin Drake, and was originally recorded by Bob Shane of the Kingston Trio, according to Wikipedia. But what many of us older folks recall was the performance by Frank Sinatra in the mid-1960s and many times thereafter. The song emphasized romance, and perhaps listeners thought of their own romances when they heard Sinatra singing it. Sinatra died in 1998.

When that song first aired in 1961, I was in my first year of college. That year John F. Kennedy became president of the United States. Kennedy established the Peace Corps, but later he sent 18,000 military advisors to South Vietnam, and U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War began. The Berlin Wall was constructed, and a military coup in Syria ended the United Arab Republic, which had joined Egypt and Syria. And let's not forget the Bay of Pigs. In 1961 there were accidents, murders, explosions, and hurricanes. However, there were also inventions, discoveries, agreements, and many other good events in that year, as in all other years.

If you find yourself wondering about a particular year, and cannot recall very many details for sure, Wikipedia is a good source of information (and deserves a contribution). For example, folks born in 1961 included: actor George Clooney; musician Melissa Etheridge; Diana, Princess of Wales; U.S. President Barack Obama; and Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard. Many people also died, including: writer and Nobel laureate Ernest Hemingway; Finnish architect Eero Saarinen; and United Nations Secretary General and Nobel Peace Prize recipient Dag Hammarskjöld.

But so much for the distant past, times that younger people cannot even recall…. What about 2013? For each of us, it was a year of getting older. No way to avoid that fact! Personally, there were fun days and difficult ones. On a more global scale: it appears that climate change is getting worse, with some devastating storms and droughts; conflicts continue to take lives in the Middle East and elsewhere; many families have not earned a livable income; Edward Snowden exposed U.S. government snooping; and other bad acts continued, such as the bombing at the Boston Marathon and attacks at a Nairobi shopping mall. On the more positive side: digital improvements continued, including advances in 3D printing; a peaceful man, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio became Pope Francis; and delegates from 140 countries signed the Minamata Treaty limiting mercury pollution (hopefully ratified in the future). But it generally takes us a while to gain a more detached, comprehensive view about a year that has just ended.

For me, the end of a year also brings some questions about the future. What am I going to do with the rest of my life? Can I make any meaningful contributions to my community, or to the world? Is there anything I can accomplish that other people will appreciate and remember? Perhaps some of the answers will become more clear in 2014. Meanwhile, it keeps echoing: What is there to do? What can we do?

In any year, one of the best recommendations seems to be, “Keep On.” There have been more than 40 or so songs, albums, and TV shows that started with the words, “Keep On.” Memorable tunes include: “Keep On Movin'” (soul); “Keep On Loving You” (hard rock); “Keep On the Sunny Side (pop, spiritual); “Keep On Walkin'” (pop, swing); “Keep On Truckin'” (soul, funk); “Keep On Smilin'”; “Keep On Dancin'”; “Keep On Pushing”; and scores of others. Some, such as “Keep On Running,” by Jackie Edwards, were translated into other languages besides English. Part of “Keep On Running” was used by Finnish rap band Ruger Hauer, and a Spanish group Los Salvajes turned it into “Corre, Corre” in 1966.

So, that is my wish for myself, for you, and for the whole world: May we keep on, and may it be a GOOD future! HAPPY NEW YEAR!


Many thanks to Wikipedia without which the research for this article would have been much, much more difficult.

See also:

Climate Change Worse Than We Thought, Likely To Be 'Catastrophic Rather Than Simply Dangerous' by Nick Visser, The Huffington Post, 31 December 2013

Read other articles by Laura L. Klure



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