Roy Exum: My Garden In October

Sunday, October 1, 2017 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

Oh my goodness, I’m pulling up my collar as the first brush of temperatures in the 50s roll in this week. My garden has a lot of leaves but there are still blooms on the flowers and enough shade to shield the sun. So, as a new month bursts forth and the winter pansies must be set, let’s look at the orchids and onions we find on our first day of October walk:

AN ONION to NFL activist Colin Kaepernick who just made a $25,000 donation to “Assata's Daughters.” It is described as a Chicago direct-action resistance organization honoring Assata Shakur. In 1973 Shakur was found guilty of murdering a New Jersey state trooper and sentenced to life in prison. She escaped six years later with the help of the Black Liberation Army and has not been caught. The website of Assata’s Daughters says it was started in 2015 to “develop and train young people, ages 4-19, in the Black queer feminist tradition and in the spirit of Assata.” The goal is to “prioritize this work to help the current momentum of the Black Lives Matter movement to carry on into the future.”

AN ORCHID to the idea that Governor Bill Haslam and Senator Bob Corker may try to “swap offices” in the 2018 election. The Democrats believe Chattanooga Mayor Andy Berke would be a good candidate to run for either office.

AN ONION to the NFL Players Association as it is revealed there are 27 active players with multiple arrests. The average time between arrests for NFL players is now seven days.

AN ONION to the Baltimore Ravens who protested the National Anthem, causing Joey Odom to resign. Since 2014 Odom has worn his military uniform to sing The Star Spangled Banner but believes “I no longer belong there.”

AN ORCHID to John Hoppingarner, a bicycle enthusiast from Ohio, who entered the Birmingham Velo race, thinking it was in Alabama. When he learned it was “the other Birmingham,” he made the best of his mistake and just had a great time in England.

AN ORCHID to Tyner football coach Wayne Turner, whose Rams just won another region title. Nobody anywhere does a better job and, while I should be publicly chastised for daring to mention it, if the Hamilton County Department of Education wants to turn around schools in the new Opportunity District, he’s your go-to guy because he knows kids’ souls better than anybody other than Jesus Christ.

AN ONION to the fickle Tennessee fans who want Butch Jones to lose his job. Who are you going to get any better? And if you think Oklahoma football king Bobby Stoops wants back in the game, take a powder. Bobby wants no part of the SEC. Who do you think does?

AN ORCHID for the unflappable spirit of B.B. Branton, who has now been hospitalized for two months as he struggles with cancer. Every time I visit I’m thrilled with his optimistic attitude and his joy watching major league baseball teams win their 100th games.

AN ONION for the sad news I won’t be able to share any more laughs with Charlie Hon, who died after a lengthy illness last week. Gee whiz, we’ve been losing too many great ones but I’ve got to say Lin Clark Parker gave us the greatest example of grace and courage I’ve ever seen before she, too, slipped away last week.

AN ORCHID for the email coming in the wake of a resolution to remove a statue of General A.P. Stewart from the courthouse lawn that read: “Just you wait … those pesky crosses are next.” The County Commission will vote on the proposal this Wednesday and it is believed the idea will be strongly voted down.

AN ONION for the librarian in Massachusetts who mailed back 10 books by Dr. Seuss that had been sent to the school by First Lady Melania Trump. The poor woman claimed they were “racist propaganda,” this after a picture of the librarian wearing a “Cat in the Hat” photo went viral over the Internet. Melania called the incident “unfortunate” and my bet is some of those elementary children cussed.

AN ORCHID to Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer. When asked about the NCAA basketball scandal that just caused Rick Pitino to be fired, Meyer wasted no words. “I always believed if you willfully and intentionally broke the rule or you lie to the NCAA, you can never coach again. It’s no different than a student-athlete. If a student-athlete lies to the NCAA, they’re finished. So you’re telling me a 50-year-old man has more rights than an 18-year-old student-athlete? Who comes up with that? If you intentionally lie about committing violations, your career is over. No. You’re finished. That will clean up some things.”

AN ONION to the news that 25 percent of all gun crime in the United States occurs in just four cities – Chicago, Baltimore, Detroit and Washington D.C. Ironically, the four cities have the toughest gun laws in the nation. Go figure. (Chicago is having a record week with 74 already hit and 15 dead. So far in 2017, right at 500 have been killed and 2,862 have been shot on an average of every two hours, 11 minutes)

AN ORCHID to the University of Texas student body for just voting a whopping 96.71 percent to renew the Longhorns’ great football rivalry with Texas A&M. When A&M joined the SEC the in-state classic was stopped but the game is bigger than “The Red River Rivalry” between Texas and Oklahoma.

AN ONION to the single mom of four in Iowa who just took a trip to Germany, leaving behind two 12-year-olds, a 7-year-old and a 4 year-old to fare for themselves. She is being held without bond while other family members are caring for the children.

AN ONION to the “committee” that is currently trying to raise $100,000 to ship a 45-foot statue of a naked woman to the National Mall in Washington. It is believed it will help women’s equality awareness.

AN ORCHID to state Attorney General Pam Bondi of Florida who just notified Nevada authorities that O.J. Simpson will most certainly not be a parolee in the Sunshine State when he is released after nine years in prison as early as tomorrow. "Floridians are well aware of Mr. Simpson's background, his wanton disregard for the lives of others, and of his scofflaw attitude with respect to the heinous acts for which he has been found civilly liable," Bondi wrote. "The specter of his residing in comfort in Florida should not be an option ... Our state should not become a country club for this convicted criminal."

AN ONION to the estimates that Hurricane Harvey inflicted somewhere between $70 billion (with a ‘b’) and $180 billion on Texas and Louisiana. The federal government will obviously share in the costs but in Puerto Rico, where hurricane Maria did $40 billion (with a ‘b’) to $80 billion on top of $1 billion from Irma, Puerto Rican officials have no Congressional power. The island is a Commonwealth, not a state, which heightens the catastrophe to epic proportions.

AN ORCHID for the quote: “I dream of a better tomorrow, where chickens can cross the road and not be questioned about their motives.”

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