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Seth’s Cut: Rockin’ in the free world

August 4, 2021 -  By
The Casa Rio Mexican restaurant on the San Antonio Riverwalk was closed for portions of July but has since reopened. (Photo: Casa Rio)

The Casa Rio Mexican restaurant on the San Antonio Riverwalk was closed for portions of July but has since reopened. (Photo: Casa Rio)

We are clearly still rocking here at LM headquarters as we go back to back on rock ‘n’ roll cover headlines, this time channeling Neil Young’s 1989 hit “Rockin’ in the Free World.” I tip my cap to Publisher Bill Roddy who saw the cover image and gave us the idea for the headline. And I also say thank you to our friends at DeHamer Landscaping in Grandville, Mich., for allowing us to come out and photograph the crew hard at work for the cover image. You guys rock.

I myself have been rockin’ in the free world lately. The Jones Family, like many American families, took a family vacation. It was the first time my wife and kids (ages 14 and 9) left the state of Kansas since the onset of the pandemic. We road tripped it south for 16 hours to South Padre Island, Texas, a frequent vacation spot for the Jones family. We drive because we like to stop at our favorite pit stops along the way, particularly Whataburger.

We don’t have Whataburger in Kansas. The first Whataburger in Oklahoma City is always a cause for celebration. This was the first time we sat down in a Whataburger in about two years … and we waited almost as long for our order to be delivered.

As we left, we saw an angry Okie trying to back out of the log-jammed drive-thru, to no avail. I felt his pain. My guess is he hadn’t gone two years without a Whataburger though! I forewarned the kids that this could be a recurring theme of our trip. If our favorite restaurants weren’t understaffed, they might be worse: closed. The pandemic has left many businesses searching for workers.

Turns out, I called it. We were dismayed when we arrived at Casa Rio, our favorite restaurant on San Antonio’s River Walk, only to find it closed. The sign read, “Due to circumstances beyond our control, we cannot yet open. We hope to be back soon.” I told the kids, “Sorry folks, park’s closed, the moose out front should have told you.” (My kids haven’t seen “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” but I told them to trust me; Dad just nailed a perfectly timed movie quote.)

Clearly, these staffing problems go beyond my vacation dining troubles. In the Resources section of the magazine, we often ask for your success stories. Today, I’m asking for you to share with me some of the nightmares you’ve experienced with the current labor scenario. It’s a story that we will share in a fall issue.

I can already foresee that issue’s rock ‘n’ roll cover headline: The Allman Brothers Band, “No One to Run With.”

In memoriam: Jeff Heide

Jeff Heide

Jeff Heide

For the past 26 years Jeff Heide worked for North Coast Media and its publications. His name never appeared on the Landscape Management masthead. He was our office manager, our behind-the-scenes guy. When new hires arrived on their first day, Jeff would give them the office tour. If a printer was fussing, Jeff would fix it.

Jeff, a Cleveland sports nut, ran the office Super Bowl square pot.

We were all saddened when we learned that Jeff passed away recently at age 61.

I’ll fondly remember the time I came into the office and Jeff lit me up because he saw me on TV in my Royals jersey, celebrating a Kansas City home run in the Progressive Field outfield. “I’ve been going to games for 50 years and I’ve never been on TV!” he told me. I told him the key was I was in the visiting team’s jersey. He assured me he’d never try that trick.

To celebrate Jeff, the company will be turning off the lights at NCM headquarters and taking some time to enjoy the upcoming Cleveland Indians/Oakland A’s day game together. I’m sure you’ll understand if you can’t reach us that afternoon.

It looks like this Royals fan will be adding an Indians jersey to his wardrobe after all. Cheers, Jeff.

This article is tagged with , and posted in 0821, Editor's Note, From the Magazine
Seth Jones

About the Author:

Seth Jones, a graduate of Kansas University’s William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications, was voted best columnist in the industry in 2014 and 2018 by the Turf & Ornamental Communicators Association. Seth has more than 19 years of experience in the golf and turf industries and has traveled the world seeking great stories. He is editor-in-chief of Landscape Management, Golfdom and Athletic Turf magazines. Jones can be reached at

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