The week between Christmas and New Year’s Day feels like the dead zone.

Not like the Stephen King novel in which the main character sees a vision of the future where the President starts World War III, but rather like putting everything on hold and wondering what the heck happened to the year 2018. From where I stand, it seems like it went by in a blur. Or maybe it was me that was in a blur, but anyway, here we sit on the threshold of 2019, and you can’t turn around without someone making predictions for the coming year.

Unfortunately, I lost my crystal ball, but If you’re wondering what’s in store for us, one prognosticator says there will be mass UFO sightings over cities. “It will be the year of shocking events and people all over the world will be contacted,” she wrote. “Some of the UFOs are our military but others are otherworldly beings. In some instances, there are holographic images beamed into the sky, especially on cloudy days.”

Here’s one to ponder, that fuddy-duddy from the 16th century, crazy ol’ Nostradamus, predicted that in 2019 people will be able to speak with animals. “The pigs will become brothers to man”, he wrote in 1555. Nostradamus devotees believe this means that the technology will allow us to talk to animals.

Overall for 2019, astrologers predict - drum roll, please - expansion, liberation, and opportunities; awakening us all to a sense of adventure. Oh my! I’m just hoping that’s not the same as the old Chinese curse, “May you live in interesting times.”

Of course, to ward off those purported “interesting times,” just make sure you follow the time-honored rules on New Years Day. For example, If you want to hedge your bets on having good fortune in the coming year, don’t forget to sweep the floor toward the outside of the house to drive out everything bad, like making a clean start.

They say eating certain things will bring good fortune, like black-eyed peas, lentils, pomegranates and cornbread. And you might as well add green chile on the side. Some people like to eat 12 grapes at the moment that the countdown to midnight begins to represent 12 wishes. And there’s one old custom of wearing red underwear that night to attract love.

But I’m not so sure about that last one. I’ll have to check with my wife first before I haul out my red union suit from the attic.

As for our little town in 2019, I don’t expect much change, no matter what the astrologers say. That’s the way we like it. We know our neighbors and we say hello to visitors. In a way, it’s a reminder of a time when people looked out for each other; keeping old traditions alive. For the most part, it’s peaceful and quiet, and I’m tempted to say just like Mayberry.

But not really.

Somebody pointed out to me the reason Mayberry was so peaceful and quiet was that nobody was married. Think about it: Andy, Aunt Bea, Barney, Floyd, Howard, Goober, Gomer, Sam, Ernest T. Bass, Helen, Thelma Lou, Clara and, of course, Opie were all single. The only married person was Otis, and he stayed drunk.

Okay, I’m joking, but there is a ring of truth to be found in that old TV show, especially when it comes to small town living and being neighborly. Those of us who grew up with the likes of Andy Griffith, Ozzie Nelson, and Ward Cleaver remember those days well. Those times were simpler, and things were a little more straightforward and easier to understand.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating a throwback to the fifties or sixties in any shape, form or fashion, but some of those long-gone ways still sound like common sense to me. I mean, the slogan “reduce, reuse, recycle” is really nothing new.

There was a time, not long ago - but way, way before 2018 - when we returned Coke and Pepsi bottles to the store and got a deposit back. The store sent them back to the plant to be washed and sterilized and refilled, so the same bottles could be used over and over. Sounds like recycling to me.

At the supermarket they bagged groceries in brown paper bags that you could reuse for trash can liners, book covers for school books, and wrapping packages to send in the mail. And when we packaged something to send in the mail, we used wadded up old newspapers to cushion it, not Styrofoam or plastic bubble wrap.

We drank from a fountain when we were thirsty instead of carrying around plastic bottles. We refilled writing pens with ink instead of buying a new pen and replaced the single razor blade in a razor instead of throwing away the whole razor just because the blade got dull.

Wait. Stop. What’s wrong with me? I’m starting to sound like a grumpy old man pining away for some black and white TV land. Better I should just shut up now and raise my glass for “auld lang syne."

Salud! And happy New Year!