The new year has gotten off to an interesting start.

The weather is all nice and springy, as if it is trying to pretend it didn’t try to kill us over Christmas.

A lot of us had to deal with power outages when trees toppled bringing down power lines as it ushered in bitter cold weather that, in this area, resulted in single digit lows.

Whether you heat with electricity, propane or oil, the loss of power meant you were without heat.

People with wells were in big trouble unless they had a generator.

No water means you can’t flush your toilet.

Some of us had backup forms of heat, such as wood-fired stoves while others were able to take refuge with family, friends or members of their church.

A few unfortunates ended up with frozen water pipes that burst and ended up with cascades of water in places where they did not want a mini Niagra Falls until the could.

At least we don’t live in Buffalo, New York.

The weather didn’t just try to kill people, it succeeded. Nearly 30 people died.

Some died when they tried using charcoal grills to heat their heatless houses.

With no ventilation, carbon monoxide gas, which is colorless and odorless, and deadly, got them. There were also a few who died when they got trapped in cars that got buried in snow.

We can be thankful that that we survived this one.

Of course the winter is still young.

People are in the process of de-Christmasing now and all the pretty lights and decorations will be gone until next year.

But we will still be left with cold, dark, gloomy January, and February, which is not a lot better.

There is still plenty of time for the weather to slam our heads into a wall.

But some misguided souls actually like winter and are wishing for snow.

Most children are probably wishing for snow, but they have. Kids usually love snow days and aren’t thinking about the fact that they may prolong the school year.

Also, they can go out to play in it. Their parents are the ones who have to shovel it.

But snow days can provide them with a nice break in that long slog between now and Easter.

No predictions will be offered in this space for the new year.

Making New Year’s prediction is an invitation to look foolish.

The only sure thing is that we will have state and local elections this year.

Yes, if you live in Virginia, you can never escape elections. Virginia has elections every year.

We have federal elections on even numbered years and, with a few exceptions, local elections on odd numbered years.

This is good for those of us who are not normal and actually like elections and attack ads on TV.

So, whether you like them or not, the elections are important and you should learn as much as you can about the folks who want your vote.

Then, you can be ready to vote for your favorite scoundrel come November.

If you don’t get out and vote, then please don’t complain about what the winners do when they take office.

You forfeited your chance to have a say in the process.

Our democratic system works, but you have to make it work.

Oh, let’s not forget that the minimum wage, in Virginia, will rise to $12 per hour.

This means some of you will get a raise. It also means that some of you, who own businesses, will have to pay for it.

But, with inflation cooking along like it is, you will probably be able to get away with raising your prices.

Beyond those things, the new year is a great unknown.

We shall see what it brings.