Roy Exum: A Walk In April’s Garden

Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

As I took my first sun-drenched walk through my April garden, it was hard to believe that just one week ago it hosted a gusty snow shower. There are jonquils now blooming by the score but there are some hardy weeds as well. So let’s take a look at what I’ve found …

A JONQUIL to Sheriff Daron Hall of Davidson County (Nashville) whose re-election campaign literature includes a “Get Out Of Jail” card like the one you find in a box of the game Monopoly. Everybody knows it is just for fun but the sheriff says that’s just about all anyone ever asked him for during his first three terms of office. The cards are a big hit.

A WEED to the fact an average ticket to watch the Boston Red Sox this season will cost a kid $52.32. Another to watch the Yankees in New York is going for $51.55 and the Major League average is now $27.93, which shows why there are so many empty seats at games. Most people can’t afford to go to major league parks any longer.

A JONQUIL to Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed, whose inauguration promise in 2010 was to “make sure we’re not a city too big for love,” will soon be getting married. Mayor Reed, embattled this winter after a freakish ice storm left the city in gridlock, will marry his longtime girlfriend Sarah Elizabeth Langford and the happy couple is already expecting a baby, according to reports.

A WEED to the NAACP in Nashville after they claimed a portrait of new Vanderbilt football coach Derek Mason made him look “too racist.” Akailah Harris of the NAACP said the freehand painting was “reminiscent of the minstrelsy era in which black people’s skin was darkened and their lips were made whiter in order to exaggerate their race in order to put them in a sharp contrast with the white race.” The painter profusely apologized and, after revealing all he had to go by was a picture, will try again on the side of a building on West End Avenue.

A JONQUIL to a study conducted by the Washington Post and the Kaiser Family Foundation that learned 89 percent of the veterans who fought in Iraq and Afghanistan would sign up again. While 51 percent said they knew a former soldier who had tried to commit suicide, a full 90 percent were proud of their contribution to their country.

A WEED – what else – to District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray who on Monday signed a bill that decriminalizes possession of up to an ounce (28 grams) of marijuana in the U.S. capital. It makes possession of less than one ounce of weed a civil violation with a penalty of $25, which is less than a parking ticket. Before this week possession had been a misdemeanor carrying up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

A JONQUIL to Kwasi Enen, a senior at William Floyd High School in Long Island who just got acceptance letters from all eight universities that make up the Ivy League. The admission rate to one of the private universities is just 8.9 percent so his feat is impressive. With both parents working as nurses, Enen will pursue a medical degree. Can you name all eight? They are Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Yale, Princeton and the University of Pennsylvania.

A WEED to Catholic Archbishop Wilton Gregory, who is now apologizing for “a lapse in judgment” that resulted in a lavish $2.2 million manse that he built in Buckhead for himself. He wrote, “I am disappointed that, while my advisors and I were able to justify this project fiscally, logistically and practically, I personally failed to project the cost in terms of my own integrity and pastoral credibility with the people of God of north and central Georgia.”

A JONQUIL for rebounding car sales. Figures for March were released yesterday and Chrysler, spurred by the new Jeep Grand Cherokee and truck sales, was up 13 percent. Toyota was up 4.9 percent and Ford was up 3 percent. GM, with over 6 million cars recalled, delayed announcing its figures while Volkswagen suffered a 28 percent drop. Oh, and the average cost of a vehicle last month was $31.995.

A WEED for the fact Chattanooga is sixth on this year’s list of “Allergy Capitals” that is sponsored by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America. Last spring Chattanooga was third so maybe things won’t be as bad as they could be. Louisville, Ky., was first with Memphis, Baton Rouge, Oklahoma City and Jackson, Miss., rounding out the top five. Behind Chattanooga are Dallas, Richmond, Birmingham and McAllen, Texas. Knoxville is 16th, Nashville 25th and Augusta – where next week’s flowers at the Masters will be stunning – is 31st.

A JONQUIL to California’s Jim Zetz, 62, who has stage 4 pancreatic cancer but staged a wedding last weekend for his 11-year-old daughter. No, she didn’t get married but, worried that his time on earth is dwindling, he wanted her to remember the day her dad walked her down the aisle. Jim gave Josey a promise ring and pastor Gary Galbraith got it right when he told the beaming girl, “Your dad may not get to see you get married, but he is here to walk you down the aisle today. The daddy and daughter relationship is one of the most special relationships in life.”

What Is Thanksgiving Day For?

As I thought about tomorrow, I asked myself this question: "What is Thanksgiving for?"  For some, it is simply a break from work. For others, it is a time to gather with friends or family or both, to enjoy one another's company and our favorite foods, and to give thanks for the many blessings we've enjoyed.  Thanksgiving encompasses all of those things, but for me ... (click for more)

This Thanksgiving Think Of Others

I used to keep a framed picture in my classroom: “Your Life is God's gift to you. What you do with your Life is your gift to God.” I wish every child could hear that repeated every day. And what teachers do with their gift benefits so many children on a daily basis. Teachers are often on the front line of the poverty battle. It is important that children know from where their gifts ... (click for more)

Residents Concerned Over 7-Story Building On The Southside

Downtown Chattanooga residents expressed their concerns with the proposed seven-story apartment building on Cowart Street on the Southside at Tuesday night’s City Council Meeting. The apartment building, originally zoned at four stories before Belle Investment petitioned for seven, has not been adequately publicized, residents claimed.   Architect and planning professional ... (click for more)

Commissioner Graham Chides Chairman Bankston For Shredding Arts Cigarette Tax Letter; Says Sunshine Law Violated

County Commissioner Joe Graham on Wednesday chided Chairman Chester Bankston for shredding a letter related to the proposed cigarette tax to aid the arts. "Have you shredded any other county legal documents?" he demanded. Chairman Bankston replied, "No, I have not done that." He said the letter did not get the necessary six signatures to forward to the Legislature. ... (click for more)

UTC Rallies to Top Arkansas State, 55-54

Just call ‘em the comeback kids, and kids – i.e. young ladies – who are plenty thankful for a win on Thanksgiving Eve. For the second time in three games, the UTC Mocs (4-2) rallied for a win as they handed previously unbeaten Arkansas State (3-1), 55-54, its first loss of the young season in McKenzie Arena Wednesday night before 1,189 fans. Down by as many as 17 (44-27) ... (click for more)

Jones Thankful For Resiliency, Resolve Of 2015 Vols

The day before families gather around the table to celebrate Thanksgiving, Tennessee football coach   spoke about what he and the Vols are thankful for. "It's a time to reflect and we have so much to be thankful and grateful for in really the resiliency and resolve that this football team has shown, the growing of this football team and the growing of this football program," ... (click for more)