Roy Exum: My Sunny Garden In May

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

“Hurray, hurray for the first of May – outdoor swimming begins today!” I remembered the age-old battle cry as I took a monthly inventory of my sunny-but-soggy garden and it seems for every pretty flower there is a dreadful weed.  So as I look back at the days my brothers and I would swing on a rope high above the creek, here are some of the pearls I noticed:

A FLOWER to Tennessee head football coach Butch Jones who, as he enthralled a large crowd at this week’s “Steak and Burger” dinner, was so moved over the fact the patrons dined on burgers while the kids of the Boys’ and Girl’s Club in Chattanooga had steak that the Vol football boss wrote out  a personal check for $3,000 to help with future plans for the children.

A WEED to the truth ancient philosopher Anacharsis uncovered in 600 B.C. when he declared, “Laws are like spider webs, which catch little flies but cannot hold big ones.”

A FLOWER to Erlanger Hospital orthopedic surgeon Dr. Julie Zielinski, a gifted pediatric specialist who was just honored by the Children’s Advocacy Center for her “tireless” efforts on behalf of children the world over. A story on Chattanoogan.com gave an example: “On a recent mission trip to Ethiopia, she performed extensive surgery on a teenage girl with a rare bone disorder who had been ostracized, abused, and raped because of her handicap.” I am telling you, giants walk among us.

A WEED to Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn) who is being deservedly pounded in every quarter for his efforts to keep horse soring alive in Tennessee by trying to scuttle the passage of the PAST Act. Thus far 56 national horse organizations, 77 international veterinary groups, 26 national animal protection organizations, 35 renowned horse-interest professionals and 17 nationally-known celebrities have endorsed the act, not to mention a majority 268 members of Congress and 50-of-100 members of the Senate. Noted “Big Lick” activist Steven B. Smith is Alexander’s State Campaign chairman and the 73-year-old Alexander is a statewide embarrassment.

A FLOWER to the memory of Bob Hoskins, the actor who made us laugh in “Who Framed Roger Rabbit?” Hoskins died at age 71 from pneumonia brought on by Parkinson’s Disease. He starred in Pennies From Heaven” and “Mona Lisa,” too.

A WEED to the botched execution that caused the death of Oklahoma murderer Clayton Lockett to take 43 minutes but let’s not forget that he once shot 19-year-old Stephanie Nieman twice after he kidnapped and raped her and then watched as she was buried alive. His crime spree took much longer than 43 minutes and her family will never recover.

A FLOWER to the Montana Supreme Court for overturning a one-month sentence a misguided judge gave a high school teacher after he raped a student. Stacey Dean Rambold faces new sentencing but under state law it must be for two years or more.

A WEED to Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston who was just suspended from the Florida State baseball team for shoplifting $32.72 of crab legs at the Publix store in Tallahassee. “Famous Jameis” is also under investigation in a widely-followed rape case that has been reopened following a New York Times expose. Jameis admitted the heist, citing his “youthful ignorance” as the cause.”

A FLOWER to Karine Gambeau, a French tourist who took her left-over pizza from a restaurant in the city’s Little Italy and handed it to a homeless man. It just so happens the homeless guy was a disguised actor we know as Richard Gere (“Pretty Woman”) who mumbled, “God bless you.”

A WEED to the United Auto Workers union for coming up with a scheme where the UAW will align with the IndustriALL Global Union in asking the U.S. State Department for help that Nissan is violating workers organizing rights at the Canton, Miss., plant. The UAW has been rebuffed by Nissan workers for years.

A FLOWER to California Chrome, the early favorite for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby. Owned by a pair of “regular Joes,” the horse has six wins in 10 starts. Wicked Strong is the pick to finish second and Hoppertunity is third but all of that could change today when the post positions are drawn.

A WEED to Donald Sterling, who doesn’t deserve dirt after the life he has led as owner of the LA Clippers, but let’s give a weed after it was learned a full-page ad in the LA Times that thanked him and his wife for a $3 million pledge to UCLA’s kidney program was – get this – paid for by the grandstanding Sterling himself. Now UCLA has told him to keep his money and has returned the initial payment of $425,000. What a lout!

A FLOWER to every person in Hamilton County who is brave enough to run for political office. More will lose than will win when next week’s primaries are held but let’s never forget those who dared to try to make our lives better.

A WEED to the fact that one out of five persons in Tennessee must rely on food stamps. We’ve got to do a better job with primary and secondary education and equip our young with the ability to get good jobs.

TWO FLOWERS for Diane Tate and Paige Atchley for being named as “Torchbearers” as they graduate from the University of Tennessee. It is the biggest award a senior can get. Diane, who went to Boyd-Buchanan, and Paige, from Soddy-Daisy High, are among 12 chosen by Chancellor Jimmy Cheek.

royexum@aol.com



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