Roy Exum: My December Garden

Friday, December 1, 2017 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

As glittering tinsel, Christmas lights and canned holiday music fill the air, it is a delight to see it has rained just before our monthly walk in the garden. November was a dry month … we were three inches under normal … but we are three-quarters of a foot of rain above our usual 11-month tally, which bodes for a good spring. The long-range forecast is for a wet, mild winter but why hasn’t my winter rye gotten a better toe hold? The winter pansies are certainly filling out and oh … what do we have here? Orchids and onions in abundance!

AN ORCHID to Bailey Sellers, a 21-year-old psychology major at East Tennessee State who just got the last birthday card from her dad. About a month before Bailey turned 17, Mike Sellers died of cancer but, before he did, he made a great deal with a flower shop for them to send a card and flowers to his daughter every year until she was 21. This year’s card said, “I am in a better place. You are and will always be the most precious jewel I was given." His daughter told a TV reporter, "When I opened this card, I especially felt him with me.”

AN ONION when my brain “short-circuits” – when I wrote my Thanksgiving article I fully intended to pay tribute to Blair Patterson, who recently departed this orb. God tried to help when He limited my typing to only one hand, hoping my brain could keep up, but I still make mistakes. Instead of “Patterson” I put “Blair Carter,” an equally beloved pal and he reported in the very next day that he still feels good.

AN ORCHID that Blair Carter is still vertical and having more fun than ever.

AN ONION to the woman who consented to several interviews with the Washington Post alleging that Roy Moore, a candidate for Senate in Alabama, impregnated her when she was 15. Alert Post reporters began to think something wasn’t right and later saw the same woman walking into the offices of Project Veritas, some organization that targets mainstream media and “left-leaning groups.” Always beware the messenger, as Shakespeare might say.

AN ORCHID for the woman who, when she ran out of gas and had no cash, her Good Samaritan turned out to be a grimy homeless man who used the only money he had – a $20 bill – and walked to a nearby gas station after leaving her in her  car with the doors locked. “Johnny” returned with enough fuel to get her home safely. The next day, when she promptly paid him back, she sensed all the guy needed was a break. So she started a GoFundMe, thinking her story might help raise some money for the Good Samaritan. She hoped for ten-grand. On Thanksgiving I was able to announce $300,000 in just a matter of days but, whoa – strike that; it’s now $450,000 and growing. “Johnny” swears he’s giving almost all of it back to charity in the heart-driven hope it will help others.

AN ONION to the horrifying spectacle that resulted after Greg Schiano was offered the job as Tennessee’s new football coach. No person anywhere in the world deserves to be treated like he was and now that the mob has settled down, we find in retrospect he would have been a good hire. Has anybody figured out how four candidates to be Tennessee’s next Governor happened to Tweet their outrage in less than the same hour? I’ll guarantee not a one had ever heard of Greg Schiano. Is this a great country or what?

AN ORCHID for the words of Roy Bennett: “The surest way to make your dreams come true is to live them.”

AN ONION for the study just released that claims one-fifth of cancer patients have some form of “post traumatic syndrome disorder.” That makes perfectly good sense and now that we know it, we can treat it, too.

AN ORCHID for the brilliance of Sheriff Jim Hammond, whose efforts to get our mentally-impaired out of the County Jail and connect them with social workers is absolutely heroic. When we give out medals for “humanity,” let’s make sure Gino Bennet, Janna Jahn, Allen Branum, and Joe Fowler hear the trumpets too. (Mayor Coppinger’s decision to put the “workhouse” under Hammond and Deputy Chief Fowler plays a key role in this new-found recidivism.)

AN ONION that once again the “SEC sucker bet” is true. That’s when some sharpie, just before college football begins, bets a know-it-all that no team in the SEC will make it through the regular season undefeated.

AN ORCHID to the wonderful life of Jim Nabors, who you know better as TV funnyman Gomer Pyle. Nabors died in Hawaii on Wednesday. And, to think, once there was a day when Nabors would eat breakfast every day at his beloved Wally’s on McCallie Avenue. Jim was working for WRCB back long ago and he and a fledgling children’s photographer became glorious friends. That would be Mr. Olan Mills, who just gave Children’s Hospital a check for $1 million.

AN ONION for the fact Jim Nabors was in Rochester, Minn., awaiting a liver transplant for weeks, when Carol Burnett called him and said something like. “You dummy, you gotta’ go where there is a supply!” Sure enough he flew back to L.A. and had surgery within a week.

AN ORCHID to Mikayla Holmgren, who won the Spirit of Miss USA Award and the Director’s Award in the Miss Minnesota USA Pageant last weekend. A student at Bethel University, her goal is to teach children and be a model and don’t bet against her. She is the first contestant in the Miss USA competition to have Down syndrome. "I want to live independently and continue to be an advocate for inclusion," she says brightly. "I want to be a light shining for acceptance."

AN ONION to the student newspaper at Texas State that published an anti-white column that read, “Whiteness will be over because we want it to be. And when it dies, there will be millions of cultural zombies aimlessly wandering across a vastly changed landscape.” The article, which pleased very few, also said “white death will mean liberation for all.”

AN ORCHID to a man who would identify himself only as “Charlie K.” Last week he walked into a Toys "R" Us in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, to shop with his son, and purchased $2,000 of stuff for Toys for Tots. Then he sat down with the manager and paid for 62 layaway orders, totaling $10,780. "I'm just trying to bring some happiness to people, to the community that brought happiness to me and my family.”

AN ONION to the American Airlines’ computer that allowed too many pilots to schedule vacations at the end of this month. Now it appears there will be 15,000 flights with no crews to fly then. American is offering time-and-half to pilots who reschedule December vacations. You think!

AN ORCHID to the jury in San Marcos, Texas who just sentenced a serial sex offender to a total of 1,100 years in the lockup on nine separate charges. Robert Franks, age 39, must also pay $146,000 in fines. His life expectancy – in the general population – is believed to be less than a year. (Cons don’t cater to any form of child molestation.)

AN ONION to those who declare school buildings on Signal Mountain are owned by the School Board, which just voted they aren’t for sale. Bunk! That’s not true. Please, Horace, ask yourself who owns the school board, or all of Hamilton County for that matter. The county is legally owned, collectively, by the people therein. Give me just one election cycle and we can depose any pretender. The School Board and the County Commission are only agencies, tools for governance if you will. There is no way any governing body can own anything. Politicians are mere stewards. They own zero, not squat, other than their own property. The land owners --- who pay taxes – actually own Hamilton County. And the “owners” of Ooltewah, East Ridge, Red Bank or Lookout Mountain will be delighted to help Signal Mountain with its wishes in any way they can. Are you kidding me? Selah.

Time To Address Teacher Morale

Roy Exum: USA Today Is Wrong

Alex George Needs A Good Lawyer

We know psychologically that there is a connection between feeling of self-worth and actions. When teachers lose hope in their career, eventually they change the direction of their own future ... (click for more)

After spending half of a century in the newspaper business, you will find it universal that one’s “personal ethics” demand you leave children off the news page. You don’t interview an 11-year-old ... (click for more)

So “NewslessChannel9” fired Alex George for having cancer? She needs a good lawyer to insure she owns Sinclair Broadcasting soon. Paul Burch (click for more)


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We know psychologically that there is a connection between feeling of self-worth and actions. When teachers lose hope in their career, eventually they change the direction of their own future and in turn it impacts the future of our children. If you are an educator or have friends who are educators, you have undoubtedly discussed teacher morale in public education and thoughts on ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: USA Today Is Wrong

After spending half of a century in the newspaper business, you will find it universal that one’s “personal ethics” demand you leave children off the news page. You don’t interview an 11-year-old who just watched her house burn down and now can’t find her kitty. You don’t take a kid’s picture at his daddy’s trial and, more than anything, never publish a word that would cause a child ... (click for more)

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