A WORKING DAY
Labor day was just one more working day in a newsroom. Yet there was a kind of cosmic foreshadowing that occurred in my kid hood.
As a grade school kid I became fascinated with radio news. There was something special about those voices coming in from great distances, telling about events of significance. Perceptive man that my father was, he made sure I paid attention and thought about the process. As it turns out, he knew the local radio and TV newsman.
Fred Moore Hinshaw had been an NBC announcer and legend had it that he and Lorne Greene (later of Bonanza) were the deep voices of NBC East and West back in the days when radio news reached more people than TV. Fred came to Muncie Indiana, following his wife who was the local drama teacher. Fred became a founder of the local television station and its news director. Hinshaw Edits the News not only aired on radio, but in the early days of television, became the only source for local news on the tube. Dad made sure I watched and listened to Hinshaw edit the news.
Well one labor day, a rare day for my dad to be home and not at work, he loaded me into the car and we drove a ways into what I recognized was a "nicer" part of Muncie. The homes were larger, many of them were brick and they all had beautiful large yards with plenty of shrubs, hedges and shade trees. There on a slight slopping large green lawn was a man, sweating and wearing a cap as he shoved a lawn mower, the non powered type, over the lawn. Dad pulled to the curb and honked. The fellow turned, recognized dad and came over to the car. It took a moment for me recognize the sweating man as Hinshaw, from Hinshaw Edits the News. I was stunned.
Dad and he chatted about politics and then said I was interested in the news. I can't remember what passed in that conversation, but I was struck by the fact the man on the radio and television was mowing the lawn. At our house, my brother and I mowed the lawn.
Then that evening as the clatter of the teletype and the announcer intoned that Hinshaw Edits the News I was struck by the fact the man behind the desk with the deep voice and serious look had been the profusely sweating fellow on the nice lawn. I'm not sure what I expected, that perhaps Hinshaw never left the station, was always on alert for news. It then dawned on me that on this big deal holiday when working men and women had the day off, this guy was there, working. And just a few hours earlier he had really been working, breaking a sweat on a beautiful lawn.
By the time I was working in a newsroom, I was not at all surprised by the fact that a holiday, even for working men and women, didn't mean a thing other than the stories we covered-parades, picnics and people working in their yards. Like Christmas, New Year's eve and Thanksgiving, it was just another day of work.
A quick post script. Years later when I was in college and working as a radio news reporter in Muncie, my boss was Fred Moore Hinshaw. He was a brilliant writer, journalist, thinker and a bit of a rascal poet. Had he chosen the lights of a big city he would have succeeded, might even have been Chet Huntley. He chose family, home and making a contribution where he lived, even if it meant sweating a couple of times on Labor Day. My dad and Fred were of the same generation. They were great teachers.
See you down the trail.