Or ... Hail! Hail! The gang's all here. Still.
All right, I confess to writing this days earlier but I presume the world has not ended. Or do we wait until midnight just to be sure? Or is the Mayan calendar not in the same zone as our Eastern Standard Time?
I don't know about you but I really didn't get terribly worked up about this forecast.
Earlier research showed it as simply a misinterpretation of the Mayan calendar which had no intention of telling us, or anyone else, that the world would end today.
In fact, someone or other has been predicting the apocalypse since Biblical times. The Book of Revelation foretells the events leading to the end of it all. Even Columbus put together his "Book of Prophecies," hoping to use it to convince Ferdinand and Isabella to finance one more voyage. This time he intended to sail west beyond America to reconquer Jerusalem.
The Millerites in upstate taught the world would end March 21, 1843, while Harold Camping selected May 21, 2011. Still here - last I checked. I'm leaving out the Norse religions and many others, I'm sure, to jump ahead closer to our time.
I am so ancient I remember air-raid drills in elementary school: having to duck under our desks when the sirens went off, cover our heads and wait not-too-quietly for the all-clear to sound. Later I joined friends scanning the skies for enemy aircraft.
I was out on my own, newly married in fact, when lives became complicated by bomb shelters. It was a question of morality, ultimately weighed by each individual, whether we really wanted the protection, how it should be stocked and, sadly, who would be let in and who, by murder if necessary, kept out. Lots of discussion in a very ugly era.
I jump ahead by decades to Y2K. Remember the panic we all shared then? Computers would go wild, unable to make the big transition, and the new information age we had come to rely on would self-destruct. Don't travel: who knew what would happen to reservations much less the trains and planes themselves? If the world didn't burn to a cinder (and was there any guarantee there?), how could we survive without those computers we had come to so depend on? (Just thirteen years later now and think of the catastrophe should that be a threat today? I know the younger - much - generation would be absolutely devastated and I'm not too sure it would be much easier for the rest of us.)
I delved into the superstitions concerning the Mayans six months ago. End-times did not come from their culture. To quote Geoffrey Braswell, a UCSD anthropologist: "My first car (odometer) only had six wheels so it went up to 99,999.9 miles. That didn't mean the car would explode after reaching 100,000 miles."
Let's not, however, discard completely those memories of yesteryear. They do remain, like many of the fallout shelters used now in private homes for extra storage. It's worth noting that many of those were poorly built, lacking ventilation and a way to dispose of wastes. And did we really want to survive for at least two weeks on crackers and candy or the suggested Bing cherries and creamed chipped beef?
Storing is useful be it extra food or candles (this is Chautauqua after all) or even good memories. Still, time now to look ahead, to face a bright tomorrow. The Holidays are stampeding on us with the New Year giving us a chance to wipe the old slate clean and begin a new one. The Mayans would approve.
I'm certainly not the first nor will I be the last to wish each and every one of you the very happiest of times in 2013.
Susan Crossett is a Cassadaga resident. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org