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 2022. 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 2023, 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 self-proclaimed psychic says there will be mass flooding, malaria, and power outages on a global scale. Oh, and the same guy predicts that Madonna will have a bad year.

Another says there will be a change in Earth’s orbit caused by a nuclear meltdown and that expectant parents will be able to customize their children’s hair and eye color.

Here’s one to ponder, that fuddy-duddy from the 16th century, crazy ol’ Nostradamus predicted that in 2023 there will be “seven months of the Great War; people dead from wickedness.” Not only that but there will be a “heavenly fire in the royal building,” and tells of a “light that will go out on Mars.”

Keep in mind that his predictions for 2022 included an asteroid strike, robots that would invade Earth, and climate change would cause sea temperatures to rise so much so that the fish would be half-cooked.

We still have three more days for all that to transpire.

Modern-day astrologers predict expansion, liberation, and opportunities; awakening us all to a sense of adventure. And although there will be no zombie apocalypse, 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 Year’s 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.

As for Socorro in 2023, don’t expect much change, no matter what the astrologers say. 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 a little more straightforward and easier to understand.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating a throwback to the 50s or 60s 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 when we returned soft drink 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, there were no plastic bags and grocery sacks were reused 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 bubble wrap.

You drank from a water fountain instead of carrying around disposable plastic bottles. You refilled pens with ink instead of buying a new pen, and you switched a blade in the safety razor instead of throwing away the whole thing 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 to Auld Lang Syne.