I wonder if all my readers are looking forward to 2017 as much as I do?  
Certainly no one can be sorry to bid 2016 adieu. In my long life, I cannot remember such a hateful time.  
What with building walls, worrying about where Isis will strike next, “Lock her up!,” and e-mail investigations, along with the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan and the Neo-Nazis, it’s hard to find anything to be optimistic about, so I decided to turn once again to history records.
At least we know what the results were for the events of 100 years ago and we are still here.
I found an article from the Johnson County Courier that tells of an exclusive Gentleman’s Club in Omaha, on New Year’s Day, 1906 and how they celebrated New Years Day.
Now you would suppose that they and their silken-gowned ladies would be indulging themselves with a banquet and cocktails while listening to some fancy String Quartet entertain them, but you would be wrong.
These Omaha millionaires did an extra-ordinary thing.
They decided to make it an “Old Settler’s Day” and issued an invitation to anyone, old and young, to come celebrate the arrival of a new year, and come they did!
The Irish laborer, the German Farmer, the Scotch small business owner all showed up, some in overalls, to shake the hands and see the sights of “how the other half lived.”
These elite of Omaha welcomed everyone
who came through the door with a hearty handshake, and an introduction to the heavily laden buffet and an overflowing punch bowl.
At first the guests were a little uncomfortable at a party that was so totally out of their realm of possibility, but they had been made to feel so welcome that after awhile, they began to mingle, meet new friends, and feel totally at ease.  
Most stayed until long after dark.
That night in the more modest Omaha homes the conversations were about how nice those gentlemen were.
In the mansions, the comments were concerned about what a successful party it had been and how glad they had included everyone, not just their personal friends.
After reading this, I couldn’t help but wonder when class distinction came to the prairie.
During the years of early settlement when neighbors were few and far between, the isolation was such that everyone needed everyone else.
It didn’t matter whether you owned one horse or four horses.
If you needed help, someone hurried to help you.
Or so it seemed, perhaps not.
Now we talk about banning certain religions or refusing to live in a neighborhood that has a different ethnicity than ours.
That is not the America I know.
Benjamin Franklin said as he signed the Constitution that it “would serve us well until the people became so corrupt that they would need a despotic government because they were incapable of any other.”
I kept thinking of this during the 2016 election. Have we become so corrupt that we care only about ourselves?
At this Christmas season I saw so much giving to those in need.
Bell ringers stand in the cold to raise money to do good works, Marines try to make sure every child, no matter how needy, gets a Christmas present, the homeless can find a warm place to sleep because people contribute money for shelters.
Let us hope that old Ben was mistaken in his prediction of the downfall of America.
Let us hope that 2017 will not continue the hate of 2016. Love thy neighbor, no matter how much he differs from you!
Happy NewYear.