Letter from the Editor 

Memorial Day weekend always serves as the unofficial kickoff for summer. Around these parts, the parks are full of family reunions, with legions of folks dressed in identical T-shirts -- playing horseshoes, volleyball, and, yes, soccer. At Shelby Farms, where I spent Saturday afternoon, the sounds of soul music and salsa blended and faded in the humid air, depending upon where you walked.

At other gatherings, later in the weekend, I saw many folks I hadn't seen since that spate of parties that precedes Christmas and New Year's. Memorial Day, it occurred to me, is almost like a counterweight to those holidays -- an acknowledgement that, yes, we survived another season of winter and school and basketball fever, and now, by God, it sure is hot and these mosquitos are a pain in the butt, but it's summertime and the livin' is easy. And aren't we all glad to be here.

At my weekly golf match, I heard all about my friend Jon's new driver and my friend Larry's new irons. And I marveled at the hope that springs eternal -- that new clubs will overcome our bodies' old habits and flaws. I decided I probably needed a new driver.

I attended a party on the banks of the Mississippi on the Arkansas side. It was a celebration for a friend's child who had just graduated from college. I saw kids -- who I watched play T-ball and whom I drove in carpools -- drinking beer, smoking cigarettes, talking about their jobs. "How are you, Mr. VanWyngarden?" they said, apparently surprised at my survival into dotage.

"Old," I thought. But alive and happy to be so. I watched barges churning their way up the wide brown river, listened to soul music as the sun set over the dark trees, and -- because this is Memphis, and it's required -- savored a plate of barbecue with my beer.

I heard political gossip -- some old, some new. I threw a frisbee. I caught a catfish. I let the ubiquitous big party dog nuzzle my posterior. And it was good.

Ah, summer. Let the daze begin.

Bruce VanWyngarden, Editor



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