Dear Readers ~
Where were you during the Aug. 21 eclipse? Friends across the country ~ from Wyoming to Isle of Palm, S.C. ~ donned their protective glasses and sent photos that I am sharing with you. An adventurous day. Many classes were cancelled on campus so students could participate in this historic event. Most watched from the Sanford Stadium. I was disappointed that it did not get as dark as I had anticipated and was amazed to learn how much light exudes from the sun when the moon is blocking 99.5 percent of it!
I write as Hurricane Harvey has been downsized to a tropical storm, but the havoc that it has left in its wake is mind-boggling. Have any of you ever been involved in a natural disaster? I have not and can only imagine the devastation of one ~ though I visited New Orleans a while after Hurricane Katrina and it was still a mess! So many lives affected. Between hurricanes, mud slides, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tornados, tsunamis and such, a huge portion of our population has been directly or indirectly involved in a natural disaster. My great aunt and uncle, Mary and Jimmy, had a beachfront house that was demolished in Gulf Shores during Hurricane Frederic in August 1979. Fortunately, they were able to rebuild and our family has enjoyed many vacations visiting the white sands and clear waters of the “Redneck Riviera.”
This weekend marked the start of most college football seasons. According to the AP poll, Georgia and Tennessee were able to skid into the top 25 preseason rankings and the SEC is represented well with Alabama ranked again at No. 1 and five more teams being respected for their prowess. Hopefully, Tennessee will earn enough points on the gridiron to lower its current ranking (yet stay behind UGA ~ gotta love that bantering!).
With this annual kickoff, my favorite time of year begins. As I have mentioned in the past, it runs from football season through the New Year’s holiday. The weather becomes cooler. Tailgating begins. Favorite recipes are prepared and most often shared. Family and friends gather in celebration of the many activities that occur during this festive time. Returning to school dignified tenure with each passing year until we were seniors in high school before starting the hierarchy again in college. Remember going shopping for new school clothes? I wore more tartan then than I do now ~ colors of fall, as well as red. There is just something comfortable about classics.
A natural pastime on Labor Day is to gather and light up the grill. Many of you will be doing the same tomorrow as we celebrate the federal holiday that was first established in 1894 when President Grover Cleveland signed off in an attempt to support trade unions. Tomorrow also marks the last day on which any fashion-conscious southerner will wear white or seersucker. However, the humidity and heat often make us cheat. How in the world do the weather gods keep us in control?!
I will close this column with a wee bit of melancholy as we approach the first anniversary of the death of my sweet little four-legged Raleigh who passed last September. So hard to believe that it has been a year as something reminds me of him every day. Recall the poem that I wrote about him last year? Seems that most of my recent columns have been written from my Victorian writing desk in Daddy’s cabin where I wrote most of that poem and where Raleigh was in-tuned to nature’s bliss. Buried a few yards from where I write, I feel the same companionship. Thank you, God, for so many beautiful natural gifts and allowing me the opportunity to share a small part of your little paradise on earth. Thank you also for trusting in me the care of the smartest fur-baby creature that I have ever known. He challenged me often with his clever antics and entertained me while playing with his toys … especially his red hockey ball and squeaky chews. On occasion, I wake to what I thought was Raleigh chewing on one. And, though I may shed a single tear, the peace of knowing all is well brings joy to my heart and a slight smile to my lips …
Enjoy your Sunday afternoon and Labor Day!