It seems like we just put away the Christmas trees and now it is Memorial Day weekend! I can't believe it is already here. But here it is... and Memorial Day is always a great holiday because it is the unofficial start to the summer season. It also means outdoor grilling, potato salad and water sports, all of which are a few of my favorite things.

Memorial Day was first celebrated in 1868. It was set aside as a day of remembrance of those who have died serving our country.

Memorial Day also marks the beginning of the summer travel season with thousands of Americans taking to the roads, skies and waterways as they shed their winter coats for warm outdoor weather. If you are traveling this holiday weekend, please follow the advice of Tennessee's State Highway Patrol officers and observe the speed limits, watch for construction areas, wear your safety belts, watch out for other motorists, don't drink and drive, make sure you get a good night's sleep before you leave on a long trip and don't text and drive. Texting while driving has become a new national problem, as harmful, some experts say, as drinking and driving. Several major accidents have occurred across the country as vehicle operators attempt to text and drive their cars, buses or trains.

THP also advises motorists to get their cars checked out before a long trip. This safety checkup of the brakes, etc. can prevent accidents and breakdowns on what should be a fun holiday adventure.

If you are flying over the holidays, make sure you arrive at the airport at least two hours ahead of time for a domestic flight, earlier if you are traveling out of the country. Don't forget to take along all your proper identification and remember to stow your hair spray, nail clippers, etc., in your checked baggage as you can't enter the plane with those in your possession.

If boating and water sports are topping your list of things to do this weekend, you may want to follow these safety tips: make sure the boat is in safe, working condition after the long winter; don't overcrowd your boat; make sure there are life jackets for each person on the boat; take along a weather radio; and determine who, besides the driver, could operate the boat if the driver were to become sick or otherwise incapacitated. It is also not advisable to drink and operate a watercraft. Alcohol contributes to the majority of accidents on rivers, lakes and oceans.

Having reminded you of all these safety precautions, I would like to wish you a very safe and happy Memorial Day weekend!

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The second Cruise-In of the season is scheduled for this Saturday in downtown Crossville. The Cruise-In will feature lots of entertainment, good food and cool, classic cars and trucks. The action begins at 1 p.m. and lasts until 7 p.m. If you need more information, contact organizers Linda Hassler at 200-8097 or Anna Norris at 248-5710.

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The Friends of the Library's annual Book and Author Luncheon is slated for Wednesday, June 3, at the Cumberland Mountain State Park Restaurant. Susan Gregg Gilmore is the keynote speaker. Gilmore is a Nashville native and resident. She recently published her first book, a best seller titled Looking for Salvation at Dairy Queen. The deadline to purchase tickets is next Tuesday, May 26. Tickets are $13 and may be purchased at the Art Circle Public Library's circulation desk.

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Graduations are next week here in Cumberland County and if you would like to give your graduate something long lasting, you may think about purchasing a stone at the new library with their name on it. The 12x12 Crab Orchard stones may be engraved with individual or family names. Each stone is $200. All proceeds will go towards funding for purchase of furniture or equipment for the new library.