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Time for some time off, and reflections on life

After four separate occasions of telling Vicksburg that “Ernest is on vacation,” the roles are reversed.

Yup, the guy with the dreadlocks often referred to as “the newspaper man,” will be out of the office for a week.

Since this is my first professional, extensive amount of time off, I don’t know what to do with myself.

I have a best friend getting married Aug. 7, where I’ll serve as a groomsman and give a speech honoring their relationship and nuptials. I’m happy for this friend. I know he’s making the right choice.

Other than that, I have absolutely squat planned for this delicate time away. The drive alone to North Carolina is about 700 miles, equating to about 11 hours.

Once I arrive I have no friends to party, go out to dinner or argue over sports with. My old college buddies are beginning their senior years as engineers, so they’re tied up studying.

So that just leaves the open road to occupy my time off. I haven’t been back to North Carolina since 2014. Given its recent state of discrimination, feeling that negative energy once I cross the border will probably put it back in a bad place.

Nevertheless, I’ll be home with family for a few days before venturing off and having fun of my own.

This weekend will be the first time I’ve stood in a friend’s wedding. Mainly because I have an “If I’m not in it, I’m not going” mentality when it comes to these events. It’ll also set off the first set of realizations of how grown I am to have friends at 25 years old ready, stable and lucky enough to find their significant other while being teenagers.

I’m extremely happy for my friend that’s he’s willing to change her last name and complete the final piece of their familial puzzle.

And don’t worry, I won’t end up on any crazy social media page with an overly intoxicated picture or video, and story about myself this weekend.

Another positive factor the wedding yields is the opportunity to see old high school friends and catch up. I love being on the open road and have childhood friends all over the state, so it would be nice to, on my way to Fayetteville, stop in a few places like Charlotte, Winston-Salem and Raleigh before sleeping in my old high school bed.

Alex Swatson is a sports writer for The Vicksburg Post. He can be reached at alex.swatson@vicksburgpost.com