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Opinion: Labor Day memories

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This week, we celebrated Labor Day. With the first Monday of the month falling on September 1 this year, Labor Day seemed to come early. Labor Day is dedicated to the economic achievements of American workers. It recognizes the tremendous contributions that our workers have made to the financial well being of our country. In 1894, in his second stint as President of the United States, Grover Cleveland made Labor Day a federal holiday.

This day always brings back many memories for me. First of all, it signifies the end of Summer and in my day, the start of school. Secondly, I can’t think of Labor Day without thinking of Jerry Lewis’ MDA Telethon and all of the monies that have been raised throughout these many years for such a worthy cause!

randy brownThird, as a huge tennis (Jimmy Connors) fan when I was growing up, Labor Day means U.S. Open tennis. My favorite U.S. Open memory was Jimmy Connors‘ 1991 U.S. Open “magical” run at 39 years of age. It all began when Connors lost the first two sets to the younger McEnroe brother (Patrick) in the opening round match. Down two sets, 0-3 (games) and 0-40 in the fourth game of the third set, it was all but over. I vividly remember turning the television off and going to sleep. The next morning, I awoke to the news that Connors had rallied (as he did so many times) in one of the most memorable comebacks in tennis history. Connors won the third set and came back to win the next two sets to pull off a victory in a five set match that ended at 1:35 am (east coast)! Wow! Connors went on to win his next two matches and by the time Labor Day rolled around, he had become a national news story. In a most memorable Labor Day match against fellow American Aaron Krickstein, Connors again pulled out an exhausting five set victory on his birthday. Connors went on to advance to the semi-finals of the U.S. Open in 1991, where he lost to fellow American Jim Courier. What an amazing and unexpected run! I will never forget it!

Finally, I remember a Labor Day weekend when I was 15 years old. We celebrated my cousin Greg’s twelfth birthday at Caney Lake in Minden on that Saturday. Out there all day and in the days where sun tan lotion existed instead of sun block, my fair skin baked and I had the second worst sunburn of my entire life. My lifetime worst sunburn experience is an entire story in and of itself which I will share some other time. Yes, when you are as fair skinned as I am and sunburn in a matter of minutes, you rank your sunburns in order of their degree of severity. Anyway, I spent the rest of the Labor Day weekend completely sidelined at home and suffering from a horrible sunburn…watching the U.S. Open and the MDA Telethon, of course. These are my most memorable Labor Day memories. I hope that all of you had a great Labor Day Celebration with friends and family and made some memories of your own!

Randy Brown is Publisher of the Bossier Press-Tribune. He may be reached at rbrown@bossierpress.com