Roy Exum: A Walk Through My Garden

Friday, November 8, 2019 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum
It has been my habit to begin each new month with what I call “A Walk Though My Garden.” I sniff the air, look at the fallen leaves with both longing and promise. I long for the fact we didn’t do more while those leaves were green, that we didn’t help as many, nor delight as much in the miracles we found while those leaves were vibrant and green. At the same time, I love the fact that by the time their replacements arrive in the spring – and, yes, the promise of spring is absolute – our world will be better, more promising and, most of all, fulfilling the vow “the best is yet to be.” Every month I look forward to finding the orchids, those of awesome design and beauty, yet for each flower there is a tearful onion, something we can recognize, try a little harder to fix, and retain only the lessons that onions seem to teach better than the orchids … and that take our minds off the onions in life’s wondrous cycle.
 
This month I am about a week late, because “staph” infection, more surgery, and bed rest will not take a back seat to a garden walk in the autumn sun, but the best part of being sick is getting better.
This time we are trying some new drugs and one in particular has struck my fancy. On the 9th of September in 1928, a doctor from Scotland returned to his office after a vacation and there was the usual stack of mail. But what caught Sir Alexander Fleming’s eye was that a mold growing wild in a forgotten petri dish was mauling any bacteria in its path.
 
Since that day, Penicillium Notatum has saved millions upon millions of people and, right now, I’ve got a bottle right by my bedside. The “staph” ain’t got a prayer. Let’s see what else we can find …
 
AN ORCHID to the fact the Chattanooga Christian football team will host the first football playoff game in the school’s brilliant history against Knoxville Christian Academy tonight and head coach Mark Mariakis is about to bust his buttons he is so proud.
 
AN ONION to the heart-breaking news that Mervin Reed is dead after one of the most technicolor lives ever witnessed by his countless friends. Mervin is the only person to ever live who legally drove his own car to Loookout Junior High School and, pilgrim, that’s just the start of the story. I don’t know if it is a rumor or not but the tale is that the transmission in Coach Phifer’s old Ford gave it up one day and Mervin said he could fix it within 48 hours if Coach wiped his detentions clean. Sure enough, the transmission ran like a new sewing machine. The detentions were erased and all was bliss until “Murph” whispered to coach to never take the car to a Ford dealer. “Oh, I don’t suspect you’d have any problems … I am just a little worried we might have missed grinding off some of the serial numbers.”
 
AN ORCHID to Carl Levi, the great patriot who on Wednesday will have his name added to the Tennessee Army National Guard (TNARNG) Armory. A Brigadier General, Carl’s rank is marshmallows to his unequaled service to our nation and – even bigger – to his lifetime obsession to the men and the women who guarantee our freedom. The ceremony will be held at 11:30 a.m. at the facility located at 1801 S. Holtzclaw Ave., and will be presided by Tennessee Governor Bill Lee. Carl has indicated any officer who is late and without a valid excuse must do 25 pushups.
 
AN ONION to the fact that 2,397 Americans have been shot, 447 fatally, during the first 10 months of the year, all within the Chicago city limits. That makes Chicago No. 11 on the list of “The Most Dangerous Cities in the United States,” but Chattanooga is now No. 7 overall. (It lands in the number 10 spot for property crime with 5,985 per 100,000 residents and is the 23rd most dangerous for violent crimes with 1,065 per 100,000 residents.)
 
AN ORCHID to the life of Bob Sanders, who died last week from dementia. I got to know him over 50 years ago through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and his ability to inspire young people, be it making a block so a teammate could score or hysterically explain an algebra I rule even I could understand, leaves a portrait of a winner painted with the widest brush.
 
AN ONION to the political gadfly who, when a recent poll showed presidential hopeful Cory Booker, a Democrat Senator from New Jersey, had a 2 percent chance at the nomination, quipped to no one: “That’s the same as a gallon of milk.”
 
AN ORCHID to Justin and Christin Ownby, pumpkin farmers of great renown in Bradley County, who just grew a 900-pounder in their field. Justin would have entered it in a contest but nothing – nothing – gets in the way of a family vacation. So our newest finalist for “Man of the Year,” scooped it out and took the U.S.S. Pumpkin for a sail in the Cleveland farm’s pond. It worked like a champ until Justin got a little cocky and struck a “Washington Crossing the Delaware” pose. Look at this! Click HERE.
 
An ONION to the jury in Texas who awarded custody of the seven-year-old boy James Younger to his legal mother, Dr. Anne Georgulas. Georgulas claims her son identifies as a girl and she wants to dress him as a girl and call him “Luna.” She also wants to put the child on experimental drugs. A judge later ruled that Jeffrey Younger, the boy's father and Georgulas' ex-husband, should have a say in his son's medical treatment.  The child attends school dressed as a boy, supporting the father's claim that his son is not truly transgender, and so should not be pumped with experimental drugs that may cause his chemical castration.
 
AN ORCHID to Lindsay Raby and her new husband Tanner, who were married on Sept. 22 in Benton, Tn., because they had far-and-away the prettiest flower girls in the State of Tennessee. Both of Linda’s grandmothers, and great grandmothers, made the grandest quartet in their pale blue, floor length gowns. They are Wanda Grant 76, Betty Brown 72, Kathleen Brown 90, and Joyce Raby, 72. Said Natalie Caho, the photographer: “I was not expecting the level of sass these girls brought. Their energy all day was that of a little girl in the same position. It truly goes to show that age is just a number.” And the greatest line of the day? “My great-grandmother is the sassiest little thing in the world. She’s single (age 90) and always looking for a man!”
 
AN ONION to the Dickson County (Tn.) commission for approving a teacher’s raise, where just like every other county employee they will get a 25-cents an hour pay raise. This will mean the teachers will get $2 more a day, or $10 more a week.
 
AN ORCHID to the man in Philadelphia who, after being shot, drove to a nearby hospital, walked in and asked for help. It was quickly learned the unnamed victim had been shot 15 times. Thus far there are no suspects but police have ruled out a botched suicide. Last month a photographer in Phoenix survived after being shot nine times while live-streaming on Facebook and in 2014 a 35-year-old in Ohio survived 14 bullet wounds but his macho has an asterisk after it was learned his girlfriend drove him to the hospital.
 
AN ONION to climate-change advocate Al Gore, who was just chosen as the Climate Hypocrite of the Year when it was learned his 10,070-square-foot Nashville mansion uses 34 times more electricity than the national monthly average.
 
AN ORCHID to the overriding need to fix our public schools. If we have 43,000 students in our Hamilton County public schools, and an estimated 30 percent of school-aged children who do not attend public schools in Hamilton County, how does the arithmetic work? We are led to believe that approximately 12,900 school-aged children attend private schools instead, are home-schooled, or otherwise educated. So is it true that 12,900 children do not go to public schools yet there is a belief that the HCDE is granted approximately $10,000 a child for those not on the public school rolls. If you multiply those 12,900 children by a $10,000 allotment for each, why has the County Commission granted our public schools a record amount of budget money in each of the past five years with such free money afloat? Where does that money go? Is there anybody who can explain to me in a way I can understand what is going on? Color me flummoxed.
 
AN ONION to the Metro Nashville Council for telling President Donald Trump and Congress that it wants to give Music City’s illegal immigrants full citizenship. The council on Tuesday approved Resolution RS2019-86. The resolution asks to give “qualified undocumented neighbors a path to citizenship and an opportunity to fully participate in the life of our community without fear.” According to the Tennessee Star’s Thursday editions, there are an estimated 31,000 “undocumented immigrants” in Davidson County, the resolution says, of which 5,000 have been in the United States from five to 20-plus years. The Metro Council expresses concern the illegal immigrants “fear such actions as family separation” and says that by jumping to the head of the citizenship line, they “could contribute even more to our city’s culture and future.” Many attend public schools and their parents fear to attend school events, it was said.
 
AN ORCHID to the whispers some “saviors” are working secretly on the billion-dollar maintenance deferment crisis that has left some of our public schools almost uninhabitable and the ominous “dark talk” George Soros is sending in his millions to control the school board and the county commission. I fear we live in dark times and when you drive about and see the many billboards about the school board, who pays the money for such things, and why?

AND, LAST, AN ORCHID for the tip from someone I love very much who ordered me to go on YouTube, pull a box of Kleenex close, and in the quiet darkness, listen to “Russell Watson - Someone to Remember Me - at the Royal Albert Hall 2011”. Click HERE.


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Opinion

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