When I came back to Missouri last year, I expected to be covering something in Lincoln County.
It was a new area, a new beginning, something completely different from the mountains of East Tennessee.
Then I was introduced to the realities of the novel coronavirus. There were no sports to cover, no events to cover – and no graduations to cover!
Back home in South Carolina, my niece Morgan was one of those seniors who fortunately had that opportunity, though it was a drive-though graduation that was an invitation-only event.
I did get to watch it live-streamed from my desk here at the Journal.
One year ago, Winfield High School’s seniors had a graduation parade in lieu of a graduation. I shot photos and video as the Class of 2020 made lemonade out of lemons along Highway 47 that Sunday morning.
I’ll never forget that kid who rode his horse during that parade. That will always be the “Welcome to Lincoln County” moment for this city kid.
It started raining that day as well, which could have also been foreshadowing for next year.
One year later, Winfield’s 2021 graduates were able to do what the previous class could not: have a commencement ceremony. As soon as I was told it was going to be outdoors, I knew it was going to rain.
Shawn Singleton doesn’t get that lucky! I’ve covered football games in tropical storms, baseball games where the first pitch temperature was 40 degrees and the final pitch was 19 degrees and basketball games where it was 55 and sunny when I walked inside the gym – and 35 and snowing when I walked out of it!
However, it seemed the rain was going to miss us when the ceremony started. The clouds were well off in the distance for most of the commencement. The speeches went off without a hitch, and I shot my photos and video as usual.
Then, as if ordained, at the very moment the diplomas were being handed out – the skies opened up.
LET THERE BE RAIN!
I have to hand it to the people of Winfield. Neither rain, sleet, snow nor dead of night were going to keep these people from cheering on their kids when they received those diplomas!
After all, if they could get through a pandemic, what’s a little downpour going to do?
As for me, I’m not the Wicked Witch of the West or a chocolate popsicle that’s going to melt with a drop of water.
I’m more worried about the camera.
PROTECT THE CAMERA, SHAWN! IT’S WORTH MORE THAN YOU ARE!
Those kids at Winfield got rained on, but that’s a memory they can cherish forever. You only graduate once from high school. You’re not forgetting that you were rained on when you were getting your diploma!
Friedrich Nietzsche once said “the future influences the present just as much as the past.”
COVID-19 changed everything for all of us. It certainly changed life for me.
Winfield’s 2021 commencement was actually the first graduation I actually covered in Lincoln County for the Journal thanks to the pandemic.
There will be more events I’ll have to cover this year I was supposed to cover last year that were wiped out due to that nasty virus I had the misfortune of meeting personally.
2020 was a lost year. That’s a column for another day.
I’ll let the graduates of Lincoln County have theirs…