Roy Exum: My September Garden

Saturday, September 1, 2018 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Late Wednesday night there came such a violent storm over my garden I wondered if it would still be around come sun up but, sure enough, light always follows the darkest night. So, it is with a bit of gratitude that today, as I take my monthly stroll seeking orchids and onion, I find myself wondering the same question I have asked myself since I knew the difference between hot and cold. Seriously – how come it takes a bunch of agonizingly slow weeks in the spring for the swimming pool water to warm but, boy, in just one Labor Day weekend every year my swimming season goes from can-to-can’t.
Other than recite the Bible verse “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof,” I can’t figure it out. So, as I’ll ponder life’s meaning for another year, here are the orchids and the onions I find among the early leaves on the ground:
AN ONION to the prankster at the Beverly Hills Hotel who noticed Houston Astros pitcher Justin Verlander in the lunch crowd last Friday and promptly added $1 million to the star’s tab for being a “Dodgers killer.” The house computer added another $95,000 in taxes and it was said when Verlander saw the check, he got a kick out of it. “They really make you pay when you beat the Dodgers,” he said.
AN ORCHID for the Mud Creek Fish Camp & Bar-B-Que, about one hour drive south of Chattanooga in Hollywood, Ala., for being recognized as still the “best” in Jackson County and, brother, that dates back to 1946. (It’s easily worth the drive and if you don’t try both, you’ll miss more than a chance.)
AN ONION to the TVA types who believe there are more reasons to spend $300 million in taxpayer dollars to move the power branch from Chattanooga to Meigs County than to augment future costs by keeping it in Chattanooga at a fraction of those millions. Why? They are still under the unspeakable delusion, “So what? It’s not our money.” 
AN ORCHID for the delight and love of Tony Massey who was buried earlier this week. “Tiny Dancer” wasn’t just everybody’s friend, he was unanimously “beloved” by thousands of us. Quite personally, my life was polished to a sheen every time I was with “the best football player in the history of Dade County.” And, ‘Big Cat,’ he still swears he wasn’t taking ‘undue advantage’ of anybody on that dogleg par five.
AN ONION to anyone who ever uses profanity in public or around children. The city fathers in Myrtle Beach, S.C., just passed an ordinance that makes it unlawful to “provoke a violent reaction from another person” with a vulgar mouth but what will make you really cuss is a fine of up to $500 or cooling down in the city jail.
AN ORCHID to the 20 million Americans who started college this fall, this compared to 31 million who quit before obtaining a degree. Until the State of Tennessee demands a success rate higher than 60 percent in Knoxville, I’m for withholding state funds and the next Governor needs to clamp down hard on the student loan racket.
AN ONION for the senseless wait and unthinkable reasons to dare repair our roads. I can’t remember our main highways ever becoming this bad and “willful neglect” of the public by an elected official should be punishable by law.
AN ORCHID for Akbar Cook, the principal of West Side High in Newark, N.J, who just installed a free laundromat in the school. It seems a school resource officer got into a fight with a female student who would not allow him to inspect her backpack. Why? It was filled with dirty clothes and she didn’t want others to know she was homeless. Turns out other kids in school faced severe teasing and bullying when they didn’t wear clean clothes to school – problem solved! (This is why every high school and middle school in Hamilton County should have a washer and dryer.
AN ONION to the notion Alabama has no equal in college football. Kirk Herbstreit of ESPN GameDay said this week, “It sets up on paper for Tua Tagovailoa to be the guy and Alabama to score at will," Herbstreit said. "They will win every game, and nobody will have a chance to beat them … this is the best offense Nick Saban has had." His logic is good but after 50 years of watching, I know “there aint’ a horse that can’t be rode or a cowboy who can’t be throwed.”
AN ORCHID to former Vice President Joe Biden, who said at John McCain’s funeral: "You know, I'm sure if my former colleagues who work with John, I'm sure there's people who said to you, not only now, but the last 10 years, 'Explain this guy to me,' right? 'Explain this guy to me.' Because, as they looked at him, in one sense they admired him. In one sense, the way things changed so much in America, they look at him as if John came from another age, lived by a different code, an ancient, antiquated code where honor, courage, integrity, duty, were alive. That was obvious, how John lived his life. The truth is, John's code was ageless, is ageless.”
AN ONION to the billions (with a ‘b’) that we put into higher education to the detriment of high school education. Our legislators should be the first to know that over 50 percent of those who graduate from high school will never, ever, open another hard-bound book of any kind for the rest of their lives. These people are called ‘constituents’ and when we short-change them instead of recognizing their needs, less than 30 percent of their children in our public education system will be able to perform at grade level. Please, slay this dragon.
AN ORCHID for the memories I’ll forever hold dear of Brad Strang, who died of heart complications in Denver last week while he was still way too young. You see, Brad – though half my age – and I were kindred souls who loved mischief, creating chaos when it was time to liven things up, and any other type of merriment. Some of his old Baylor buddies may be doctors, lawyers, veterans of armed combat, bouncers at some saloon, immeasurably happy with three daughters, whatever … three of them put together could not rival my champion at living large and that’s why he’ll forever be in my personal Hall of Fame. 
* * *
THIS WEEK WE’LL HAVE THE SUNDAY FUNNIES
Because our monthly “Walk Through the Garden” preempted this week’s “The Saturday Funnies,” do not despair because some classics will be included on tomorrow’s Chattanoogan.com. For those who are sorely disappointed, we hope this tidbit will tide you over until tomorrow:
- - -
Three friends married women from different parts of the world.
The first man married a Greek girl. He told her that she was to do the dishes and house cleaning. It took a couple of days, but on the third day, he came home to see a clean house and dishes washed and put away.
The second man married a Thai. He gave his wife orders that she was to do all the cleaning, dishes and the cooking. The first day he didn’t see any results, but the next day he saw it was better. By the third day, he saw his house was clean, the dishes were done, and there was a huge dinner on the table.
The third man married a girl from Texas. He ordered her to keep the house cleaned, dishes washed, laundry washed, and hot meals on the table for every meal.
The first day he didn’t see anything, the second day he didn’t see anything either but by the third day, some of the swelling had gone down and he could see a little out of his left eye and his arm was healed enough that he could fix himself a sandwich and load the dishwasher.
He still has some difficulty when he pees.

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