As I walk through my garden on a cold and dank First Day of December, I notice the fallen leaves, soggy after a drizzling rain, like we have had in recent days, that signals nor welcomes my presence. The wind is winter-time harsh and as I sit on a bench I recall an ancient observation, “Roses are for winter,” which has allowed generations of us to hold on until the winds turn warm again this spring.
It is not lost on even the smallest eyes, peering from underneath a moss log, that not even the worse weather can conquer our delight in one of America’s greatest joys -- each other – and here are some dandy examples of the orchids and onions we will meet on life’s path.
As is my custom, when both The Funnies and the Garden stroll occur on the same Saturday, the Garden always triumphs. Everyone has heard of the Sunday Funnies. It's a natural that they make a temporary switch until tomorrow. Here is this month’s garden tour.
AN ORCHID to those responsible for placing a Christmas wreath on every marker in our National Cemetery on Dec. 15 and especially to those who include our Confederate Cemetery with the promise “we will never forget.” More details will follow but, because of the massive effort, volunteers are asked to park at the National Guard Armory on Holtzclaw Avenue where free shuttles will be provided.
AN ONION to the faux news a record number of United States citizens have applied for asylum in Canada. Yes, the numbers are six times more than in 2016 but let’s be truthful; the great majority of those who are fleeing have non-citizen parents and, with President Trump's view on the terrible burden that immigration is costing our country, those crossing over into Canada are mostly “birthright citizens” and now’s the time for crafty men to hedge their bets.
AN ORCHID for my lifelong chum Pat Hagan, who came to my rescue in the Nashville airport and, in minutes, installed the Uber app on my cellphone and welcomed me to a great innovation in transportation. Incidentally, Uber’s fleet is the largest in the world … and Uber doesn’t own a single car.
AN ONION for the word “karoke,” which is a Japanese word that mans “empty orchestra.” It is also what a drunk man does in a crowded restaurant who thinks he sounds like Sinatra. According to a recent study, what you have been saying as “care-ee-oh-key” is the most mispronounced word in the world. The trick is the “kara” part of the word, which should be pronounced like we do when we say “karate” - "kah-rah-tay.” So if you go to Japan with some tunes you want to share, it is properly “kah-rah-oh-kay.” Okay?
AN ORCHID that the Bible verse, 2 Chronicles 7:14, is now No. 6 on the list of the Best Verses – “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sins, and I will heal their land. ”
AN ONION on me for going a bit too far with my grandaughters not long ago. Everybody is elated my son and his wife just brought a new baby girl into our family, her name is Rose. So as we ate dinner, I confided with her young cousins in a stage whisper: “I shouldn’t tell you this but Rose was born without a kneecap on either leg.” Caroline and Harper were bug-eyed – and horrified -- and it took me half of the night to explain all babies are born with kneecaps but it is soft cartilage that often you cannot feel. The development of a baby’s kneecap starts in the mother’s womb itself when she is about four months into gestation. During the formative years, it is made up of cartilage. When the baby is about 3-5 years old, the process of ossification starts and their kneecaps harden like everyone else.
AN ORCHID for news no one can make up: In Belgium an effort to make a beautiful beach in Westende a “clothing optional” location has been denied. With the resort area of Ostend nearby, it would have been an ideal nude beach but it seems its dunes are the habitat of the rare crested lark. An environmental minister, Joke Schauliege, became convinced that what was termed in the hearing as “subsidiary sexual activities,” known to sometimes occur in the dunes of nudist beaches, would scare the crested lark away. It was also feared the dunes would be ruined by random “canoodling” and beach goers would leave trash behind.
AN ONION for the finding over 70,000 Americans died of a drug overdose in 2017. I hope and pray I’ll never need to use it but I keep a box of Narcan in my car to grab if I see someone about to die. If you want to do this, make sure you memorize the instructions.
AN ORCHID for the four-finger salute at Alabama. For years football players everywhere have thrust four fingers high in the air with the pledge, “The fourth quarter belongs to us.” This year it has changed in Tuscaloosa where four outstretched fingers are really meant for opponents – “You need to score FOUR touchdowns right now to beat us.”
AN ORCHID to Clemson football coach Dabo Sweeney who, when talking about Alabama’s absolute dominance of the game this year, recalled when he was a walk-on athlete at Alabama the team traveled on two huge buses. “There was ‘The First Bus’ for the best players and then there was the ‘ROY’ bus that followed it. The ROY bus was so named because it was for the “Rest Of Ya’ll.” (Sweeney went on to say the undefeated Alabama team was on college football’s First Bus all by itself. “All of the other good teams are on ‘’The ROY Bus.’”)
AN ONION to the court clerk in Washington D.C. who was steadfast in refusing a marriage license. Both she and her supervisor refused to accept a New Mexico man's state driver's license as he sought a marriage license because she and her supervisor believed New Mexico was a foreign country.
AN ORCHID TO THE Washington State Marching Band. Last Friday the University of Washington band was in a terrible accident, sending 48 of 53 on the bus to the hospital before the top teams met in the Apple Cup rivalry. Obviously, the Washington band returned home but – no problems – the Cougar band spent all afternoon learning the Husky’s fight song and played it numerous times, especially at halftime when the Cougar Band formed a huge “W” and paraded up and down the field. “Maybe the classiest thing I have ever seen,” said one official. “It reminds us we are all Washingtonians!” Washington left the field with a 28-15 win and, yep, the WSU band played their rivals’ fight song one last time.
AN ONION to Fitchburg State basketball player Kewan Platt, who will be remembered among the greatest villains in sports. Nichol’s guard Nate Tenaglia had just tried a three-point from the corner when Platt charged him and threw an elbow with all of his might into Tenaglia’s face. Not only was Platt suspended from the team, but he was also suspended from the Fitchburg campus. To see the most blatant foul in the history of basketball, click HERE.
AN ORCHID to the wisdom of Denis Waitley, an inspirational speaker who once said, ‘Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.”
AN ONION for the corn that comes with the one-liner: “'What's so unpleasant about being drunk?' 'Ask a glass of water!'" -- Douglas Adams (The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy)