TGIF: A collection of topics so lengthy we can’t do them justice

Brownwood Bulletin
Gene Deason

I looked at my calendar for inspiration, as I sometimes do when a column topic doesn’t easily come to mind, and I was speechless. Where do we begin?

The Lyric Theatre’s production of “Grease” opens tonight, so don’t delay in securing your tickets. Only four shows over one weekend are scheduled, and you don’t want to miss it. “Grease” is certainly worth a column this week.

But wait. Saturday is Juneteenth, the celebration of the day in 1865 when Texans learned of the Emancipation Proclamation. That’s certainly worth a column.

Then, Sunday is Father’s Day. There’s a column.

What’s more, Sunday is the first day of summer. The weatherman has jumped the gun on heat and humidity lately, but there are some points to explore — especially after one of the Abilene television stations got the notion that the first weekend of summer was last Saturday and Sunday. The error was repeated at least three times during newscasts. I make mistakes too, but I do try to correct them.

But still, we could also backtrack some and congratulate the Brown County Fair Association on a job well-done with the Brown County Rodeo. Let’s also remember the Heartland Rod Run, the annual celebration of classic cars and roadsters hosted by the Heartland Cruisers. It’s great to have these annual events back up and running, so to speak, after so many were cancelled in 2020.

At the risk of not doing justice to any on the list of upcoming events, let’s offer a few lines about each of them.

GREASE — Everyone knows about the musical “Grease.” You know about the movie, and you certainly have heard the music. The stage play is a bit different from the film starring John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John, but this Lyric production promises to be a crowd-pleaser. As mentioned above, tickets are selling quickly, so don’t be disappointed.

If you want to feel old, consider these comparisons: The musical was a 1971 production dealing with the culture of an American high school in 1959. That was a throwback of 12 years. The movie was released in 1978, and here we are 43 years later, rockin’ to the 1950s. It’s all good.

JUNETEENTH — Celebrating freedom, freedom for every American, is what this holiday is all about. While July 4 has been observed for decades, the real Independence Day for many is June 19. And later this year, Juneteenth National Independence Day will apparently be designated as an official federal holiday.

FATHER’S DAY — Sometimes, you get good advice from sources that, on the surface, seem unlikely. Consider a televised interview last week with James Corden, the British stage actor who was an unexpected choice to host a late night talk show on CBS.

Somehow, the topic got around to advice for fathers, and to summarize, he urged fathers to model for your children what it means to be a good husband to the children’s mother. That way, youngsters will grow up understanding that good fathers are loving and caring, and in all probability, as adults, the boys will act that way, and the girls will accept nothing less.

I like that.

Personally, Father’s Day elicits mixed emotions for me, even though my father was a gem. Sadly, he died on Father’s Day years ago. Fortunately, Father’s Day doesn’t always fall on June 16 as it did in 1985.

Since we counted years in the “Grease” paragraphs, I calculated this: As of 2020, I’ve been alive longer without him, than I had lived with him. Still, time can’t erase fond memories.

FIRST DAY OF SUMMER — According to my almanac, the summer solstice will be at 10:32 p.m. Central Daylight Time this Sunday, so please take note of that, Abilene television station whose call letters I won’t mention.

It’s the “longest day of year” in the Northern Hemisphere, meaning you will experience the most hours and minutes of daylight — sunrise to sunset — this year.

With daylight saving time in effect, the daylight hours of June and July especially are lengthy enough in our area. However, the impact of the “longest day of the year” really hits home the farther north you go.

My wife and I were on a cruise to tourist stops in Alaska and Canada in the summer of 2018, and I made it a point to break my slumber to experience the midnight sun on several days. We weren’t as far north as we could have been on the first day of summer, but the sky never did go completely dark.

That’s something to put on your bucket list, assuming you are making one as you plan your future travels with the pandemic’s lockdowns retreating.

Happy summer, happy Juneteenth, happy Father’s Day, and above all, cheer for “Greased Lightning.”

Gene Deason is editor emeritus of the Brownwood Bulletin. His column “TGIF” appears on Fridays. He may be contacted at tgifcolumn@yahoo.com