Roy Exum: My Garden This March

Thursday, March 1, 2018 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

If it is true that ‘April showers bring May flowers,’ what does a monsoon mean on the first day of March? My big blonde lab is incensed that standing water in the driveway has interfered with his tennis ball game and the mud … oh, it puts such a bad taste in his mouth it takes a double order of Pup-Peronis when time comes for his treats.

As we walk through the garden on this first day of the month, I counted 37 daffodils in full bloom and signs of an early spring everywhere I look. The weeping willow is already green and I have actually witnessed lawn mowers in operation.

Mother Nature always gets a giggle from those who plant too early – I’ve seen too many hard freezes in late March and early April to fall for that trick. But everybody’s lawns are greening up awfully fast and my wonderful friends, the songbirds, are already whistling for bird seed. Please, remember that just yesterday it was still February!

That said, I’ll take a balmy day over a dismal one every time and you’ve got to know our rainfall in these first two months of 2018 is right on target with our yearly averages.  So, the orchids and onions are out in abundance and, compared to no early signs of spring, I like our stance.

Let’s take our monthly inventory of what good and what’s bad …

AN ORCHID to the great news that ‘eye-bobs,’ who I believe make the best reading glasses in the world, are moving full speed ahead into the sunglasses business. The not-so-good news is that my first pair are so incredible I bet I’ll have a dozen pairs by this very day in September (I’ve got more pairs of eye-bobs reading glasses than that scattered over my domain.) They offer “reading models” but just check “zero strength” on the website and get ready for the most comfortable polarized shades you’ve ever seen (yes, a pun.)

AN ONION to the news that Amsterdam is cracking down on tourists in its famed Red Light District. Turns out the “shop-owners” are tired of just being looked at. Tour guides that operate as “voyeur agencies” will be fined $1,200.

AN ORCHID to the fabulous talk yesterday by Terry Fossum at the Tenth Annual Friends of Scouting luncheon. Fossum, from the state of Washington, credits the Boy Scouts for saving his life – and most certainly enabling it – and promised due to the values and ideals he was taught, he has never smoked marijuana that was just legalized in his state. “Just because it’s legal doesn’t make it right.”

AN ONION to the horrific rumors police in Parkland, Fla., wouldn’t allow first-response medical teams into the building until it had been cleared. The accusations are that some children may have been saved had they not bled to death. Mercy, we must learn every lesson we can from our tragedies.

AN ORCHID to FedEx for “refusing to discriminate” against the National Rifle Association at the behest of the fanatics. While agreeing “assault rifles” are “an inherent potential danger,” the Memphis-based giant said its decisions are never made on political views, nor is FedEx falling prey to senseless hysteria.

AN ORCHID to the Classic 150 for a sensational roast-toast to John Thornton last week. Headlined by Phillip Fulmer and Bill Battle, I will live out my final days remembering “Thunder” becoming absolutely unglued by the hysterical memories and comments. The Classic 150 is an active promoter of sports events in Chattanooga and if you were among those who missed the event, you can still mail donations to Classic 150, c/o Mickey McCamish, 180 Hamm Rd., Chattanooga, Tennessee 37405

AN ONION to the plans the city of Chattanooga will close MLK down to just one lane each way for bicycles, which are pseudo reasons to ruin the downtown area. Police secretly fear that since the bicycles are never actually seen, a ghost could lose its life.

AN ORCHID to the alert police officer who found a lost pistol outside Hamilton Place Saturday after the Crips and Bloods shut the place down. Somebody claimed appearances by the street gangs are being secretly financed by Amazon Prime, which can deliver anything your heart desires within two days. Also, if the person who lost the gun will call the ‘lost-and-found desk’ at CPD headquarters, arrangements can be made for the owner to pick it up … so to speak.

AN ONION to the fact I was confronted twice outside the Juvenile Justice Center on Monday by the pan-handlers, who are out in force in warm weather. Women are still scared to walk down Market and Main Streets, yet we do what? Build more bike lanes. The City Council should outlaw all begging, including those who aggressively work at street corners and greet our tourists.

AN ORCHID for the fabulous life of dear Bob Lyons who died unexpectedly last week. He was a tireless volunteer and benefactor for dozens of great causes yet never found anything to be more important than a Kentucky basketball game. What a blessing he was to thousands of us.

AN ONION to the dozens of groups and organizations who have tried to exploit the Florida school massacre but what are the God-state separationists going to do after the Florida Legislature just put into law every school of any kind has to prominently display the words, “In God We Trust.”

AN ORCHID to the fast legislation that will enable sheriffs in every Tennessee county to put guns in the hands of carefully-vetted teachers. A number of teachers already have ‘carry’ permits but in Hamilton County, Sheriff Jim Hammond plans to have additional training with knowledgeable instructors.

AN ONION to the fact that not since Rosa Parks in 2005, Billy Graham is the first person to lie in state at the nation’s Capitol Rotunda since then. It seems to me that in the past 13 years, there are some other prominent Americans who should have had the same honors. It is very rare for a civilian to lie in repose and that’s a shame in a nation as great as this one.

AN ORCHID to the fact that after Billy Graham once preached at Angola prison in Louisiana, some deeply-honored inmates built a $200 wooden casket upon his request. The prisoners were led by Dick Leggett, who was serving a life sentence for second-degree murder but walked “the sawdust trail” after hearing Billy Graham. Others who helped build it were also redeemed under the Angola tent. A huge funeral will be held outside the Billy Graham Museum in Charlotte tomorrow and it, too, will be held under a Crusade tent … complete with a path of sawdust.

AN ONION to Lebanon High School that suspended Emily Gipson, 16, for two days after she posted an anti-bullying video on YouTube. She did it after a close friend committed suicide in October after saying she was bullied at the school. Over 1 million people have watched the video but her principal complained it hurt his feelings, as well as some of the teachers.

AN ORCHID to the United States Military Academy. After those at West Point learned ROTC cadet Peter Wang, age 15, was killed in the Parkland school massacre while holding the door open for fleeing students rather than run himself, the Commandant immediately issued a posthumous acceptance for Peter in the Class of 2025. The honors student, born in China, had dreamed of attending the academy and, after he was accepted, he was accorded a full military burial. Two other ROTC cadets who were killed joined Peter in being remembered by the U.S. Army, which presented all three families with the Medal of Heroism. Florida Governor Rick Scott ordered the state’s National Guard to stand post at all three funerals.

AN ONION to Disney World where “peak season” (Spring break) ticket prices have just been increased to $123 for a child and $129 for an adult. Yes, per day.

AN ORCHID to the real estate website CURBED for revealing “five up-and-coming metropolises” where millennials can get a great deal. The five are Madison, Wis. (median home price $273,600) Richmond, Va. (258,900) Des Moines, Iowa ($192,200) Omaha, Neb. ($179,000) and – tata! – Chattanooga TN ($178,100). Now, think about when it was five degrees a few short weeks ago … where out of those five do you stand the best chance for happiness?

AN ONION to anybody you can possibly find in the above five-mentioned cities who thinks MLK Blvd. between Georgia Avenue and Central Ave. will be a good place to ride a bicycle? Trust me, before you try, please know you ain’t got a cut dog’s chance in any of the five metropolises.

AN ORCHID for the fact Palm Sunday falls on March 25 but in your search for tranquility lay off the Easter Sunday on April Fool’s Day patter.

And, finally ….

AN ONION for Roy Exum, because this not only bothers me but may be a sign I am headed over the hill. A million years ago, when I would find myself in Riverview in the afternoon, I might stop by the country club and sniff around for Dr. Jim Headrick. He was a prince and always was up for nine holes of golf. Dr. Headrick could explain medicine to me in less than an hour so I could write about a particular facet where anybody could understand the mystery of it. It didn’t hurt that between him and Bill Aiken, I should have needed stitches I split my sides so hard laughing. I got to know his boys, Chip and Rob, and – in a very curious way of the South – they “belonged to me.” My grandfather taught repeated, “You do favors for your friends … your friend’s children … and your friends' children’s children.” Families are still huge with me. Now, it just so turns out that Rob is a child of his father’s heart. He’s a brilliant thoracic surgeon but what’s far more important is I need him to be able to operate on me at Erlanger. Because of whatever causes stupid, he cannot do that now. I’m working to fix that because, once again, the Headrick brothers “belong to me.” Anybody wants to mess with Rob messes with me and let me share a Disney World truism – you ain’t tall enough for that ride. Well, I misspelled his name in a story the other day. That’s happens to me lots but never with one of my boys. It’s Rob H-e-a-d-r-i-c-k.  If you’ve got a cranky thorax, he’s your man … I promise. You will not croak with one of my boys. Ever.

H-e-a-d-r-i-c-k. Rob.

royexum@aol.com



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