Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Decade in Review/ 2000

This is the first of a series of posts titled "Decade in Review". Each post will be dedicated to one year, so no one will get bored reading the entire long document! The decade of course began with 2000, so here is my review on the year 2000. Thanks for reading!!

This is my review of the decade, as compiled through my own records; it is a mixture of personal, regional, and national events that affected me or the local populace. If an event is not on here, it either did not affect me, or I deemed it too minor to bother mentioning it here.

Y2K/ 2000

The turn of the year 2000 was very highly anticipated by the entire world. Doomsday predictions abounded. The biggest fear was that all the computers would crash and revert to 1900 at midnight, so there was a larger than usual bulk of the population who vowed to stay up to watch. I planned to, but accidentally slept through the big moment! Not that it really mattered that much, although I thought it did at the time. Apparently a few slot machines out on the East coast went down, but that was it. So, that was the end of the over-hyped “Y2K” scare!

In the early weeks of 2000, my dad sat us all down and basically said, “How would you all like to start a nursery plant business?” Of course we all were excited at the prospect, and gave a huge thumbs-up to the plan. That was the beginning of Robert Wiltrout Nursery, which has continued to this day.

Our cat population increased by one in February, 2000, with the acquisition of a small black female we named Cindy. Born in the shelter, she had spent several weeks up for adoption at the local vet clinic. However, because she was black, no one was interested in adopting her, and her rotation time was drawing to a close. We adopted her just before she would have been sent back to the shelter, bringing our resident cat population to six.

As we rolled into the first few days of March, 2000, the outdoor temperature soared, setting an unprecedented streak of records, holding above 70 degrees from the 5th through the 8th, with a maximum of 78 degrees on the 7th.

As April came around, the ongoing discussions at the Hallie town hall began to get especially heated. The Hallie town chairman and his cronies were beginning to act as dictators, telling the residents of the town that they had no say in whether the municipal water was extended to them or not, and assuring them that “we know better than you what you need”. This was, as most Hallie residents agreed, something worth fighting against. The group of citizens responsible for questioning this “communism” (as one person actually termed it) put forth 2 of their own men, and ran a 2 week write-in campaign to unseat the troublemakers in a recall election. The chairman sat smugly by during the election, making fun of the whole ordeal, and then got a rude surprise when the votes were counted! The two write in candidates won by a landslide, and the two worst board members including the chairman were out of a job!! (Needless to say, in the next general election, the remaining members who had been causing trouble were removed as well.) This was my first observation of 'government by the people' in action.

During the previous few years, the State had been negotiating to buy our land to build Hwy 29, and in the spring of 2000, the deal was finalized. We began construction of our new house in the adjacent subdivision in May with the purchase funds from the State.

The next event worthy of note here, occurred on the night of September 10-11, 2000. A very slow moving storm system rolled through the entire Chippewa Valley, dumping very heavy rain throughout the night. The storm warnings were endless, but didn't seem to be affecting us here, so we all retired for the night around midnight. In the morning, the sun was shining brightly with no sign of danger, so we sat down to breakfast. The news however was reporting some major flooding in a small portion of Eau Claire, where entire basements had been totaled with water and mud when several feet of water had crashed through the windows. We had apparently gotten 8 inches of rain! After breakfast we went out to the field where we had several dozen chickens in portable cages. That old field apparently was a low spot for hundred-year floods. The good thing is that chickens can swim amazingly well, and most of the cages were in only about 5-8 inches of water. The one cage that was in the deepest spot, unfortunately was a total loss. Mostly. There was one. She was the miracle, and after much resuscitation and warming with the hairdryer, she opened her eyes after about 2 hours. We named her “Miriam”.

October 1st, we moved out of our old house, though the new one wasn't ready yet. (the State ordered us out) We moved into our new house on the 15th of October, my 13th birthday!! Needless to say, that was a big day!!!

Of course the big headlining story for the year 2000, was the U.S. Presidential race between the Texas governor promising Conservative Reagan-style reform, and the hard-headed VP of the Clinton administration. Since my family was not decidedly political, I did not think too much about the race, but from listening to debates and interviews, and with a poor opinion of Gore already, Mr. Bush was my pick. That election was almost a continuation of the Hallie override spirit, as record numbers of determined voters cast their opinion at the ballot box. It unfortunately also turned into one of the biggest charades of the decade as voter fraud and broken voting machines dominated the headlines for the coming weeks. Even Fidel Castro got in on the act, reportedly appearing on television saying in so many words, “Oh you poor Americans! Tell you what, I'd be glad to come over and help oversee the elections to make sure there is no fraud!” Although many months later the Florida votes were finalized confirming the election, since the election had to be decided now, it was thrown to the Supreme Court who awarded it to George W. Bush. Al Gore threw a huge fit, and reportedly trashed the White House before leaving in January 2001. (shows you what he's made of!)

One cold November day, we noticed some cat tracks leading off into the woods. Later, a small gray cat was seen at the door, but he quickly disappeared when approached. My sister and I did a search, and located him hiding under a woodpile behind the shed. The entire room he had hollowed out down there smelled distinctly like catnip, and he was wild! Unfortunately for him, he had forgotten to construct a back door to his dwelling, and my sister was able to reach him whereupon he promptly bit her. The kicking biting gray monster was secured however, and we deposited him inside the shed to cool off. We estimated his age at about 6 months. That was Jasper, as we later named him, and he has become one of the nicest cats we have, although still mischievous!! For a short time we would have a total of 7 cats.

One last highlight of 2000, came in early December, when our old house which had been purchased from the State by someone from Stanley, was moved. That was a major project, and I watched the entire process which took two weeks. Finally, on the morning of December 8th, 2000, with a temperature of 1 degree, I stood across the road as the huge house-moving tractor with its roaring Detroit engine slowly rumbled out onto the road. Taking up the entire roadway, and heralded by a police escort, the old 1929 house where I was born slowly rolled across the front yard, down the road, and out of sight... all the way to Stanley I'm told, although I haven't seen it since!

<<<>>>To be continued<<<>>>


JWcountryphoto said...

Here's a link to the second post: http://jwcountryphoto.blogspot.com/2009/12/decade-in-review-2001-2002.html

JWcountryphoto said...

And here's a link to the 3rd post: http://jwcountryphoto.blogspot.com/2009/12/decade-in-review-2003-2004.html