|The Colosseum of Rome.|
(For decades, local historian and paranormal investigator George “Buster” Singleton published a weekly newspaper column called “Somewhere in Time.” The column below, which was titled “What will the coming new year bring?” was originally published in the Dec. 27, 1990 edition of The Monroe Journal in Monroeville, Ala.)
The time is at hand to keep all eyes peeled toward the east for the first sunrise of the new year. The old year will be history, and as a newborn child, the brand new year will be upon us. What will 1991 bring with its dawning? Will there be peace and harmony among the nations of the world, or will there be war and bloodshed?
This will be the first time in a hundred years that one can read the year from front to back or back to front and it will be the same. Is this a sign that this year will be different? Will events begin to take shape in the coming months that will start to mold our world to come? I believe the time is at hand for this to happen.
Whether we realize it or not, our country has come of age. There is no difference between a person or a country when the aging process is at work. A human who has had the right upbringing will have prepared for the years when youth and carelessness are no longer on the sunrise. So it is with a country.
We have lived the good life, with total disregard for the coming tomorrow. We have wasted and destroyed many of our natural resources; we have fought wars when perhaps we should have taken a second look. We have in the past and are still pouring out our money to other countries, when we should have been building a nest egg for ourselves. We sell out our country to the very people who are responsible for the death of many thousands of our youth.
Our oceans are being filled with waste and garbage that will ride the waves for a thousand years or more. Our land is being polluted with millions of tons of chemicals that we so carelessly invented to help put us on the road for the good life. We totally disregard thoughts of survival; we live only for entertainment and pleasure and the fantasy world that we have come to know.
We spend millions at our arenas, watching our modern-day gladiators do battle while the cries of the hungry and the sick wail in the distance. We look the other way as our own leaders swindle the citizens of our land out of billions and billions. We spend millions on computers that are supposed to teach our youths to read, yet many can’t even write or read their own name.
The use of narcotics in our society has become the way to go. We can no longer stand proudly for what we have accomplished and marvel at our freedom and past history. We must get high on drugs and enter a fairy tale world, regardless of what it will cost us down the road. We hurriedly cast aside all responsibilities so we can get before the tube and for hours watch dirt and filth that will cause a maggot to vomit.
Our country’s history is being written all over again. We do not teach it as it actually happened; we change it to fit the occasion – the way some of our people wished it had happened. In the study of our past history, we are beginning to become confused. Just the other day, a person whom I thought to be intelligent asked the question, “Who fought in the Civil War?”
I do not mean to end the year with the voice of doom. I do think, however, that the year 1991 is the time of decision. If we are to survive, we have to begin our turnaround with as much haste as possible. We have to face reality and not turn away from the unpleasant things. Uncle Sam has to put a lid on things; we need to learn to slap ourselves in the mouths when we inform misfits like Saddam about our shortcomings.
Are we to fade into oblivion as did the Romans? Will our civilization be remembered by the fallen arenas and the conflicts of our gladiators? Or will we get our act together and say, “This is far enough.”
The time is at hand; the year of decision is upon us. The year 1991 is the appointed time. Part of a little-known poem might add some thought:
For Time, as he speeds on invisible wings
Disenamels and withers earth’s costliest things.
And the knight’s white plum, and
The shepherds’ crook.
And the minstrel’s pipe, and
The scholar’s book,
And the emperor’s crown, and
His Cossack’s spears
Will be dust alike in a hundred years.
As we look to the dawn of New Year’s morning, what will it be? Will we strive for a better tomorrow for all mankind, or will we continue on the path that we are traveling? The time of decision is at hand. The coming year, 1991, holds the answer.
(Singleton, the author of the 1991 book “Of Foxfire and Phantom Soldiers,” passed away at the age of 79 on July 19, 2007. A longtime resident of Monroeville, he was born to Vincent William Singleton and Frances Cornelia Faile Singleton, during a late-night thunderstorm, on Dec. 14, 1927 in Marengo County, graduated from Sweet Water High School in 1946, served as a U.S. Marine paratrooper in the Korean War, worked as a riverboat deckhand, lived for a time among Apache Indians, moved to Monroe County on June 28, 1964 and served as the administrator of the Monroeville National Guard unit from June 28, 1964 to Dec. 14, 1987. He was promoted from the enlisted ranks to warrant officer in May 1972. For years, Singleton’s columns, titled “Monroe County history – Did you know?” and “Somewhere in Time” appeared in The Monroe Journal, and he wrote a lengthy series of articles about Monroe County that appeared in Alabama Life magazine. It’s believed that his first column appeared in the March 25, 1971 edition of The Monroe Journal. He is buried in Pineville Cemetery in Monroeville. The column above and all of Singleton’s other columns are available to the public through the microfilm records at the Monroe County Public Library in Monroeville. Singleton’s columns are presented here each week for research and scholarship purposes and as part of an effort to keep his work and memory alive.)