THE YEAR, 2009, will be leaving us in two more days, and a new “Babe” will make an entrance on Friday. It will be the “2010 Babe.”

Yep, we will have a brand new “365” on our doorsteps, and we need to be ready for an eventful year.

Perhaps the following quote from Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of Defense in President George W. Bush’s cabinet, might fit the occasion. Here’s what Rumsfeld said at a February 12, 2002, Defense Department news briefing –

“As we know there are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknowns unknown. The ones we don’t know, we don’t know.”

You might want to re-read the above lines before you put your mind to comprehending the real meaning.

My late mother-in-law, Myrtle Dickie Negy (1896-1986), would often quote her father, Alex Dickie (1855-1927), with this statement, “Life is made up of a number of things.” I would often think about her statement, and then I would answer myself, “Yep, I guess that’s right.” Perhaps the same answer can be applied to Rumsfeld’s analysis of “knowns and unknowns” – “Yep, I guess that’s right.”

Now, what about the new youngster on the block – 2010? More than likely many “unknowns” will exist in the new year. Some of the “knowns” might be difficult problems our nation faces in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, North Korea and other “hot spots” in the world.

We might also include the current debate over the health care bill as a second “known.” A third “known” might be continuing concerns about economic conditions in the United States and the world.

If we shift the “knowns” to the political scene, we will probably see a number of interesting races develop over the nation, especially in Texas at the governor’s level and in some local contested races.

All of these “knowns and unknowns” might indicate 2010 will be an interesting year, where “knowns and unknowns” will take their place on the “world’s center stage.”

Perhaps it’s a blessing we cannot read the future. It might scare the heck out of us to know the “unknowns.”

Let’s just settle on the mysteries of 2010 with these words – “Life is made up of a number of things.” Amen.

CURRENT CONSTRUCTION projects at Tarleton State University will be the theme of next week’s “Stephenville Snippets.” You might be surprised to learn how many construction projects are presently underway at our university.

Two weeks from today “Stephenville Snippets” will have something to say about Flat, Texas. So tune in to “Snippets” on January 5 and 12 in our new year, 2010.

‘TIL NEXT TIME – “ Order and simplification are the first steps toward the mastery of a subject – the actual enemy is the unknown.” – Thomas Mann (1875-1955), German novelist.

Dr. Stuart Chilton, a retired educator/journalist, lives in Stephenville