Ringing in the New Year, dodging a bullet

It was 1999, and back then a lot of us were concerned. You may recall that someone had figured out that our technology apparently hadn't been designed to move into a new millennium, and that at 12:00:01 on Jan. 1, 2000, we could see lights go out, computers shut down, cars stall - basically pandemonium.

Of course we were going to get an early warning because the clocks and computers and cars and all things electronic were going to click over to 2000 first on some primitive island but for real in Sydney, Australia. So we watched the celebration, by the way they've already celebrated 2016 (see the photo on this page).

This shot from the celebration of the start of 2016 from Sydney, Australia, is a good sign for the New Year. And brings back some Y2K memories. (Photo: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

The celebration went off without a hitch in Sydney, as it did in Tokyo, Europe and here. We all breathed a sigh of relief. Our computer programmer friends had figured out the issue and we'd all updated our computers (as did the government with its defense systems). That was a good thing.

But I think of the conversation I had with my farmer-nephew a few days before, when we talked about watching New Year's in Sydney. He asked what we'd do if the Y2K bug had been real. My answer was that we'd pack up the family as efficiently as possible and head to my wife's family farm. We were not too far from there, and I figured if all things came to an end, we could raise our own food, and go back to a manual pump for water. I knew on the farm we could survive.

Of course I didn't have to revert to being a primitive farmer with no technology, it's something for which I'm quite grateful. Yet I know that if given the challenge the U.S. farmer would step up in any way he or she knew how to make sure food was produced. It's a comforting thought that I'm still that close to agriculture.

Now whenever I see fireworks over the Sydney Harbor Bridge, I still breathe a little sigh of relief that the New Year will be okay. It's a small consolation, but I'll take it. Happy New Year!

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