Roy Exum: November’s Orchids And Onions

Monday, November 4, 2013 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

Gee, it seems with Daylight Savings Time gone that I am walking in my garden an hour later than normal. As we wait until March 9, 2014, to once again “spring ahead,” I notice we have still not had a hard frost so here is what I find among my orchids and onions on the first Monday of a new November:

AN ORCHID for the way an ever-entertaining Southeastern Conference football season is roaring down this month’s home stretch. In the West we thought all along No. 1 Alabama might run the table but who among us figured once-beaten Auburn – a terrible 3-9 team last year – would offer the Crimson Tide its toughest test when the Iron Bowl rivalry (maybe the best in college football) is played at Auburn on Nov. 30?

AN ONION for the way Tennessee’s football team just gave up a dismal 502 yards in the 31-3 loss to Missouri, a game that will probably propel the No. 9 Tigers (8-1) into the SEC championship game in Atlanta on Dec. 7. Mizzou still has to play Kentucky, Ole Miss, and Texas A&M, mind you, but if the Tigers win out the SEC East is theirs. A loss will force a three-way tie with South Carolina and Georgia but Mizzou has the best record in a tie-breaker.

AN ORCHID for a clandestine team of “Cannonball Run” guys from Atlanta who just drove a hopped-up Mercedes CL55 AMG from the Red Ball Garage in New York City to Redondo Beach, Calif., in exactly 28 hours, 50 minutes and 30 seconds.  The cross-country sprint was made famous in a 1981 movie where Burt Reynolds immortalized the Cannonball Baker Sea-To-Shining-Sea Memorial Trophy Dash. So Ed Bolian, a 28-year-old devotee-of-speed who works for Lamborghini Atlanta, talked customer Dave Black into being a co-driver and Georgia Tech student Dan Huang as the technician into the fastest day of their lives. Armed with a police scanner, two GPS units, two laser jammers, three radar detectors and a bedpan (!) they broke the existing record of 31 hours, 4 minutes. Average speed was 98 miles an hour and top speed, according to a satellite tracking device, actually reached 158 mph.

AN ONION for anybody crazy enough to ever attempt to break the Cannonball Run record of Bolian & Co. At the beginning of the 1981 movie, the starter yelled to the crowd of racers, “You are certainly the most distinguished group of highway scofflaws and degenerates ever gathered together in one place.” (Sammy Davis. Jr. starred in the movie as a driver dressed as a priest.)

AN ORCHID for the newly-documented fact men decrease their walking speed by 7 percent every time they walk alongside their girlfriend.

AN ONION for the fact a Florida Highway Patrolman had to keep Gator football coach Will Muschamp from going into the stands after an irate fan made an obscene gesture and shouted profanities after a valiant comeback fizzled in Georgia's 23-20 victory Saturday. “I don’t spend two seconds thinking about that,” he said about the mounting hostility. “We just move on. We’ve gotta coach our football team. Control the things you can control. That’s what we’re gonna do. And we’re gonna be fine, I can assure you that.”

AN ONION to the ignoramus traffic planner who closed portions of Market Street, MLK Boulevard and other downtown streets at the height of Friday afternoon rush-hour traffic and for the regrettable fact there was not one police official that could be seen directing traffic. I’m all for honoring sanitation workers but closing streets far earlier than necessary all around Miller Park caused the thousands here for the “Head of the Hootch” rowing event to wonder how much backwards can our city be.

AN ORCHID to the football players at Boyd-Buchanan and Silverdale Baptist Academy for proving that high school football develops more kids for life ahead than just about anything you can name. Feisty Boyd-Buchanan, a losing season already assured, never flinched in the waning minutes and won a 22-21 victory over previously unbeaten Silverdale in a way that – get this – could inspire the losing team all the way to the state title. I’ve seen stuff exactly like that happen, too.

AN ONION to former University of Tennessee and professional football player Albert Haynesworth, a noted trouble-maker, who last week called Washington Redskins coach Mike Shanahan “self-centered” and predicted the head coach would “run (quarterback) Robert Griffin III into the ground.”

AN ORCHID to the same Mike Shanahan – one of the classiest guys in pro sports – for taking a deep breath and saying, “When you don’t get along with somebody as a head coach or an assistant coach, it usually falls into one of those areas –  lazy, lack of passion, and -- lots of times -- lack of character. And (Haynesworth) fits all three.”

AN ONION  to the stretch of city streets between McCallie Avenue and Glenwood Drive that are in such terrible condition – get this – the street’s surface alone terrorizes a bone-cancer patient a friend of mine has volunteered to drive to Memorial Cancer Center for treatments. C’mon, we can do better than this … (and if you want the reward of a lifetime find someone you can drive to the hospital and back.)

AN ORCHID for two long-awaited books that have just been released: “Sycamore Row” by John Grisham is a sequel to the legendary “A Time to Kill” written by the same author 25 years ago, while “The Death of Santini: The Story of a Father and His Son,” has been released by my all-time favorite author Pat Conroy and is a memoir in which he confesses, "I hated my father long before I knew there was a word for hate."

AN ORCHID to Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam for his gigantic steps to make sure former foster children in the state won’t “fall through the cracks” on their 18th birthdays – when benefits suddenly stop – and will now be offered community-based aid and nurturing until they get their feet on the ground.

AN ORCHID to Dr. Wayne Clough, Class of 1959 at Chattanooga High School, who was just named as the 2013 Alumnus of the Year, for donating funds to have a beautiful plaque in memory of Dr. James W. Henry to be placed at the school.

AN ONION for the wry observation that there is “a stairway to heaven” but “a highway to hell.” Seems to point in the direction most of us will end up if we don’t change our ways.

royexum@aol.com


My Memorial Day Story

We talk about the sacrifice our service people make defending our freedom, and are sincere in doing so, but for most of us it does not really come home. I had an experience many years ago that brought it home forcibly to me. I don’t tell it often because it really tears me up to remember.   It was in the Philippines shortly after World War II. The Huk insurrection ... (click for more)

David Carroll: Best Class Night Ever - Meet Mr. And Ms. Dade County High

Graduation season is filled with great moments, and here's my favorite of the year: Dade County High School's Class Night. Media specialist Carissa Henry just finished her 15th year at Dade, and was filled with pride as she told me the story. Each year, seniors nominate five girls and five boys to be candidates for Mr. and Ms. Dade. A school-wide election is then held, and the ... (click for more)

Unexpected Amount East Ridge Owes On Fire Hall Property Rises To $603,000; City To Apply For Reimbursement

The unexpected amount the city of East Ridge will owe the state on the fire hall property in connection with the Bass Pro development has risen to $603,000. Earlier, East Ridge officials said the payment would be $428,000. City Manager Andrew Hyatt said Monday, "The Tennessee Department of Transportation notified the city of East Ridge that an appraisal of the city’s former ... (click for more)

Fire Breaks Out At House Off Highway 58

A fire broke out on Memorial Day afternoon at a house off Highway 58. A 911 call was made at 12:10 p.m. reporting a house fire at 6019 Hillcrest Dr. The Highway 58 Volunteer Fire Department responded and found fire showing on an addition to the house. Firefighters worked quickly entering the addition to extinguish the fire from spreading to the main level of the house. ... (click for more)

Soccer Abounds For Chattanooga FC

The Chattanooga FC soccer team continues it's busy schedule this week with games on Wednesday and Friday in two separate national tournaments.    Chattanooga hosts the Atlanta Silverbacks on Wednesday in the third round of the US Open Cup. The Silverbacks are a professional team that plays in the NASL.   The Silverbacks ended Chattanooga's run in the last year's ... (click for more)

Golf and Chattanooga Have Lost Another Oehmig

  It was a classic Father’ Day golf picture. No, not Jack and Arnie and their kids relaxing at Augusta National with the Dogwoods blooming. But the Oehmig men – Lew, the family patriarch, with his youngest son, King, and his then two grade school age sons Henry and John, all crowded into, what else, a golf cart and donning that Oehmig glasses look – round, turtle shell-colored ... (click for more)