New Year’s predictions don't always ring true

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By Staff Brunswick Beacon

Laura Lewis

It was just a little over year ago I was traipsing the streets of Calabash on a late December morning, conducting an unscientific survey of local breakfast diners willing to foresee what lay ahead in 2008.

One year later, I can reflect it’s a good thing Calabash is renowned for its seafood, because when it comes to skilled psychics, it doesn’t have any.

Rate of people who predicted Barack Obama would be elected president: Zero.

There were a couple of conjectures citing Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney as respective Democratic and Republican nominees. But no one was able (or willing) to name a winner.

One local minister even went so far as to “foresee,” off the record, Obama would not be selected at all, not even in the primaries. Well, he was wrong, wrong, wrong, wasn’t he? (Hindsight is so 20/20.)

With a new year upon us, I decided to give Calabash another chance this week by going ’round town once again and collecting predictions for 2009.

Even though there are no presidential races to call, there’s plenty more on the horizon to ponder and perplex in 2009. This time around, most minds are wrapped around the economy.

Sunrise Pancake House owner Rector Sisk, busy seating and ringing up his usual array of bacon-and-egg customers three days before New Year’s, predicted things are going to get better.

One reason for that—“It can’t get much worse,” he said.

People, he said, need to stop all the negativity and replace it with a positive outlook.

“Perception is what a lot of people live by,” he said. “If you talk negative, it’ll be negative.”

He also predicted Obama will “do a good job for us. We need to support him because he’s our president.”

At the same time, Sisk said he wouldn’t want to be in the president-elect’s shoes.

West Virginians Dale and Jean Dickens and Ray Mull echoed similar sentiments over their pancakes and toast.

Jean Dickens blamed the media for constant negativity leading up to and continuing after the election, which she thinks helped contribute to a downturn in the economy.

“It’s like they’re almost begging for a recession,” she said as she dined with her husband and friend.

One thing they could predict is change.

Mull said there’s going to be “big changes through government that’s going to happen whether we like it or not.”

They cited their home state as an example where things are looking up, with many available coal-mining jobs and an unemployment rate lower than the national average.

Massachusetts resident Michael Walker Jones predicted come Jan. 20, “I betcha we get a new president.”

He and his breakfast companion, Wendell Bellamy, both foretold the economy wouldn’t be picking up much until the end of 2009 or in 2010. He also thinks unions will come back into vogue and respect for the U.S. will greatly improve in the coming new year.

Down at Curves studio in Vision Square Plaza, fitness coach Nancy Burke predicted an influx of customers wanting to shape up and get healthy in the new year.

“We’re ready for it,” she said.

A healthy and fit body, she added, can do a lot to help prevent an expensive visit to the doctor, especially during an uncertain economy.

Laura Lewis is a staff writer at the Beacon. Reach her at 754-6890 or e-mail llewis@brunswickbeacon.com.