Labor Day is coming up on Monday ... a day when America salutes its working men and women, and when many of us will hit the roads, beaches, campgrounds and do whatever it is that we typically do to say a formal last hoo-rah to the Summer of 2019.
Although, with Hurricane Dorian brewing in the Caribbean and — as I write this on Thursday morning — barreling on a west-northwest trek toward the Gulf of Mexico and a landfall somewhere in central Florida, probably not a good idea to plan a deep south holiday weekend getaway that involves areas along coastal Alabama, Florida, Georgia or Mississippi.
But if your family has a get-together this weekend — barbecue, family reunion, fishing trip, etc. — send us some snapshots for our Facebook page. We might even use some of the best photos in the print edition.
I love summertime, but I’m not sorry to see this one go for a variety of reasons. Fall is just flat-out my favorite season, always has been.
I love the early mornings and late evenings best. I like to get up early, fix a pot of coffee and walk around outside on my deck to enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of a new autumn day. There’s quite a flock of wild turkeys — mostly gobblers — that make the rounds in my neighborhood, and its always nice to sit and watch them nonchalantly pick around my yard for bugs.
I love the crispness in the air in the early mornings and sitting out in my front porch swing listening to the sounds of the night.
I love the crazy-quilt of colors that God uses to paint the mountainsides and valleys of northeast Tennessee in the fall.
The air smells different in the fall, too … a potpourri combination of scents ... falling leaves, muscadines and scuppernongs ripening, late crops of hay being baled for the coming winter, and wood smoke from nearby fireplaces to drive off the slight chill of the evenings.
Folks, I have said this many times before and its worth repeating ... I love it here. This is my home now and I wouldn’t trade it for any other, and I mean that sincerely.
I love my job and take very seriously my commitment to you.
I love the newspaper business and enjoy what I do for a living. I love visiting in the community and meeting people. I love covering the day-to-day events that affect and shape our lives.
And while covering the “bad news” is also a part of that responsibility, I certainly do not love that part of the job and take no pleasure in doing so.
Which brings me to a point ... with Labor Day coming up, may I get personal? I have been doing this work for 40 years now and suffice it to say that in four decades I have seen more than my share of wrecks in which innocent people were maimed and/or killed by drunk, drugged or distracted drivers.
Let me tell you, having to get up at 2 a.m. and make photos at the scene of a wreck in which some stoned-out-of-their mind drunk or drugged-up driver has driven head-on into a car, killing or disabling entire families, never gets any easier.
The sights, sounds and smells of those horrific events are far different from those of autumn that I described earlier.
These are the sickening sights, sounds and smells that haunt you forever; that keep you awake at night; and that you wish you could forget but can’t.
So, during this long holiday weekend, if you choose to indulge in whatever legal substance that brings you pleasure, go for it! Just do so in moderation and if you drink, have enough common sense and compassion to keep your inebriated self OFF THE ROAD because the life you save could be your own ... or that or a friend or loved one.
Enjoy the weekend, just enjoy it responsibly because, believe me, we have no wish to print photos next week of fatal accidents that could have been prevented had someone just stopped to THINK before taking that DRINK and getting behind the wheel (on land or sea).
Have a happy and safe Labor Day!