I think I could get used to this type of holiday

Published 10:06 am Friday, July 7, 2017

I spent my Forth of July at home.

The reason was quite simple. After a hectic week of politics, crime and government, I was tired and needed seclusion and a rest.

Because news never takes a holiday, reporters rarely get a chance to take time to enjoy these breaks in the week with friends and family or by themselves. So when we get the chance, we take it.

As I sat back one day and reminisced about my career over almost four decades, I realized I have worked every holiday on the calendar. Over the years, I’ve covered the fireworks displays, sat in church to write about a Christmas sermon, covered Easter egg hunts on Easter Sunday, veterans events on Veterans Day, events on Memorial Day, fires on Thanksgiving and Christmas Day, and grass fires on New Year’s Day. Even covered the first baby of the new year.

I’ve also covered the tragedies, the first homicide of the new year and the first traffic fatality of the new year.

For a reporter, having time off to enjoy a holiday or a weekend is not without its price. You may not be at the paper, but you are still subject to being called out. Like that designated city worker, police investigator or doctor, you are on call, and over the years, I’ve received calls at home or heard the fire call over the scanner that have sent me out into the early morning, late morning, afternoon, early evening or late night to cover a serious accident or crime. I still remember living in Cullman, Ala., and getting the call just after midnight on New Year’s Day from a state trooper source about a fatality in the county.

So far this year, those calls have been few, and the Fourth was a quiet day. I spent it sleeping late, enjoying a late lunch of barbeque and watching movies with the family.

We watched the “Capital 4th” on PBS, and I got to go back to my teens watching performances by the Beach Boys and the Four Tops. It was good to escape back in time and enjoy hearing some of the songs of my youth. Watching the Beach Boys also reminded me of the time they performed in Baton Rouge at the John M. Parker Ag Center on the LSU campus when I was a senior in high school. I remember the warm up bands were the Buffalo Springfield and the Strawberry Alarm Clock, which both had hit songs in 1968.

But enough for my trip down memory lane. This Fourth of July for me was different, because I got the chance to stay home, relax, avoid getting out in the heat and grilling, and for once not have to get out of the home and chase something.

It felt good, and with any luck, I’ll hopefully be able to do it again — I may get used to it.

But then, it wouldn’t be a holiday if I wasn’t chasing something.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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