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Move over, old man; here's the baby in a top hat
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“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way — in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.”
— Charles Dickens, “A Tale of Two Cities”

Dickens could have well been writing about 2008. It has been a year that has had its memorable moments and a large number I’d rather forget.

When I first got into the newspaper business, we had a subscription to a monthly service that provided us with all sorts of illustrations.

They came in big books and you would cut out the illustration and paste it onto a page.

This type of thing is all done with computers now.

The December book always had an illustration of the current year as an old geezer walking with a cane. The new year was always a diapered baby with a sash proclaiming “Happy New Year.”

Sometimes, the baby wore a top hat. I’ve never seen a baby in a top hat, but it was good for a chuckle.

I am ready to bid adieu to 2008 and start the meter on a new set of 365 days. It’s time for the old geezer to go.

There were a few things in 2008 that made me happy.

First, the election was over. Then, a few weeks later it was really over. If you’re in Minnesota, it’s still not over.

There were only two universal themes used in 2008 political campaigns. One, I’m not anything like the current president and two, my opponent is a no-good so-and-so.

I remember when a guy running for office would print cards for his campaign and put a few details like being married for 25 years, a member of the local church and that he was a Mason or a member of the Lion’s Club.

Now, they mail you an oversized post card that says something vicious about the opponent.

I am just happy that nobody is going to mail me anything involving a political campaign for about two years.

The end of the year will also bring an end to the episode involving our house.

In February, a fire destroyed our home. In July, we tore down the old house and began building a new one from the ground up.

It is nearly complete and while the building process has been really good,  I don’t want to go through it again.

I said goodbye to some who were dear to me in 2008, including my brother. But I also acquired many new friends who I am so pleased to know.

Now I’m ready for a blank slate to write a new chapter in my life called 2009. I hope it is a good one for you.

Harris Blackwood is community editor of The Times. His columns appear Wednesdays and Sundays.