Reflections on 2001
By Georgeann Wearin
The Christmas programs are over, the tree is put away, the un-ending stream of guests have gone home and the New Year’s Eve party is already a dim memory (thank goodness!); it is only now that I have the time to sit back and reflect on the past year.
Two thousand and one started out like any other year on the ranch. It was cold and winter chores were made harder by snow and ice. Life was uneventful.
We thawed out in April and May and calving and brandings kept our pace at a steady run. The summer months were filled with rodeo’s and haying. All normal activities for a ranch family in the Sandhills and then came the Fall…
The months before September 11th seem like just that – months, but the days after September 11th seem like years. I, like most people, will never forget where I was on the dreadful day. We were getting new flooring installed in our house and had furniture everywhere. The television was sitting on a box tuned into my favorite morning program. Our hired man walked by it carrying a load of stuff when he glanced at the news and said, “Whoa! Something really bad is going on!” We all stopped what we were doing and ‘watched in horror’ as they say when the second plane hit right before our eyes. Nothing could be said at that moment, we were stunned.
The kids were getting ready for school and when they saw what was going on, the fear in their eyes scared me more than the planes did. I wondered if I should even send them to school or not and when I did it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. The uncertainty of the day worried me until my oldest son dryly yelled at me after I said to be careful, “Don’t worry mom, we’ll stop, drop and roll!” Humor has always helped this family get a grip on things.
The rest of the morning the flooring man and I watched the news while we worked. His wife called him and they visited softly. Our guys had to work cattle and I would run to the barn with updates. They would just shake their heads and continue with their work quietly. I even drove to town and bought “emergency” groceries, which consisted of dried milk and lots of “SPAM”! My family still won’t let me live that one down! All in all, it was an awful day and one that changed all of us forever.
One thing I have noticed is that almost always good comes out of evil. I think that most of our nation changed for the better after 911. The charity shown to New Yorker’s was amazing and the nation’s pride in its firefighters and police people was invigorating. We reached for our Bibles and flocked to our places of worship. We truly became what our forefathers intended – “one nation under God.”
The renewed sense of patriotism is inspiring. I love the fact that we are proud of our military once again and that our service men and women are heroes and not villains. It is also great that people are sincerely nicer to each other. It is terrible that it takes a tragedy of such proportions to wake us up, but total strangers are now chatting in check out lines and driving with courtesy.
Families are coming together like never before. Divorce rates are down and marriages are up. Comfort items are doing well in retail, as people would rather snuggle up on the couch with a cozy blanket than venture out into the scary world. We just don’t take our loved ones and friends for granted anymore and we want to be together. I even invited both my husband’s family and mine (21 of us) to Christmas dinner in our tiny house so we could all be under one roof for the special holiday. It was a Christmas none of us will forget. Especially the trash collector!
So, as I sit here and reflect on 2001, I will remember it as the year the world changed. But what the terrorists didn’t count on was it changed us for the better. And, as I ponder what 2002 will bring, I will hope for peace, pray for my fellow man and try to find a bunch of recipes for dried milk and “SPAM”! Happy New Year!