Why I Want It To Rain On Labor Day

August 25, 2007 at 2:30 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Growing up in New Jersey, I loved Labor Day. Like most fun, young people, I actually preferred Memorial Day or the Fourth Of July; these days marking the beginning or middle of the summer rather than the end. Time is a crazy thing. I can still vividly remember that the time between Memorial Day and Independence Day seemed to stand still when I was growing up. Each day was simply perfect and poetic and full of what you read about in those coming-of-age, Americana novels. Then the firworks end, the fire flies go away and the rest of summer streaks by as you count backward toward Labor Day, anxious, knowing how precious each fleeting moment is, yet longing for those early summer days when you weren’t on the clock and when the calendar was kind and deliberate and compassionate. But a summer holiday is a summer holiday and as I got through college and my twenties, I started to appreciate Labor Day much more. It is the unofficial end of summer, even here is North Texas where you can get a good tan into October; one last chance to get to the beach or the summer house rental or the Jersey Shore nightclubs or just hang out with the family and cook up some burgers and dogs.

In 2000, my life changed. I moved from the NBC station in Richmond, Virginia to WPHL in Philadelphia. For those of you not too familiar with that part of the country, New Jersey is not its own market. Its identity is a hybrid of the two biggest cities on the east coast. North Jersey (where I grew up) is part of the New York City market, while South Jersey (where I lived before I moved to Texas) is part of the Philadelphia market. Places right in the middle, like Rutgers University (where I graduated from) can watch both NY and Philly television and can choose allegiance to any of the 13 professional sports teams in New York, Philadelphia and New Jersey. So, when I moved to Philly, I was essentially moving back home to New Jersey where I would live for the next four years until I moved to North Texas in 2004. I am rambling, but my point is simple: I was home and could enjoy every single holiday with my friends and family just like when I was a kid. Labor Day was one of these holidays.

Then I got hit with the news that WPHL was a Jerry Lewis, Muscular Dystrophy Association, Labor Day Telethon station, and that as long as I was there, I’d have to host the telethon each Labor Day. I was not happy. I was definitely not happy. This was one of the big three summer holidays and these horrible, selfish people were taking it away from me. How could they?

Well, eight years later, I am still hosting the telethon, now for NBC5 here in Dallas/Fort Worth. After the first hour of my first telethon in 2000, I realized that hosting the telethon and hanging out with these wonderful families and being a part of something so special and so important was far more rewarding than a Labor Day beach party. It is simply the most rewarding thing I do each year. Unlike my days in Philly, here at NBC5, nobody makes me do it. It’s my choice. While it is brutal and exhausting, I truly love every minute of it and know that each Labor Day, my end-of-the-summer party will be with my second set of family and friends at Lone Star Park.

So why do I want rain so badly on Labor Day? A cynic would suggest that if it rains and people can’t go outside, I’m not missing out on any fun. But the truth is, rain keeps people at home on Labor Day and that means more people watching the telethon; which means more money to fight Muscular Dystrophy. When the weather is nice, I can’t blame people for going out and enjoying that last “unofficial” summer day, but in my perfect world, people have a great Labor Day Saturday and Sunday, then the skies open up on Monday and people watch the telethon. On a selfish note, rain also keeps it cooler. We broadcast from the grandstand of Lone Star Park. The lights and sun make it incredibly hot and I will never complain if it’s a little bit cooler.

Here are some North Texas Labor Day stats. The hottest was September 4th of 2000. It was 111 degrees. The coldest: 55 degrees on the morning of September 2nd, 1974. On September 5th, 1932, 7.74″ inches of rain fell. Dare I say, had there been a telethon that year we would have broken records for sure! That day was the second wettest single day on record, ever!

At this time of the year, rain is tough to get. Even as I wish for it, the reality is that it most likely will ‘not’ rain on Labor Day, or if it does, it won’t be an all-day washout. It will most likely be humid and partly cloudy. The first hour (5am) will probably be in the lower to mid 70s. The last hour (6pm) will most likely be in the lower to mid 90s.

So…Go out and enjoy you last holiday weekend of the summer. Have a drink for me and be with the ones you love. If it rains on Labor Day, watch the telethon. It’s a great show and it will move you to open up your hearts and your wallets. If it does not rain on Labor Day then do me this one small favor: Have fun, enjoy the outdoors, eat and be with the people you love. Just take one or two hours out of the day to watch the telethon. Not because I am giving up ‘my’ holiday; I am actually giving up nothing and getting so much in return. But for all the families who are affected by neuromuscular disease. This is their day. It’s their day to celebrate all the wonderful things in their lives. It’s a day of hope and a day of love. It’s a day when amazing people will ask for your help. Just think: It could be ‘your’ dollar that is the ‘one’ that leads to the cure. And with the cure, we put an end to the telethon. That means all the families that spend Labor Day at Lone Star Park can go out and do what you do on Labor Day; what I did for so many years. Labor Day. We take it for granted. Let’s make sure people affected by muscular dystrophy and their families get to experience a Labor Day away from the telethon real soon. We all deserve to make the most of one of the great American holidays.

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2 Comments »

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  1. Mr Maclauglin-
    Huge fan back in Jersey. This year i will bring a mini tv with me to the beach just so i can watch you and the telethon.

    Best Wishes-
    Geraldo

  2. I loved the idea of not having too many responsibilities as a child and being able to enjoy each day.

    And what a warm-hearted wonderful thought and such an unselfish way to spend your holiday. I watch the telethon almost every yr. I always cry with every special story.


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