Roy Exum: My Garden This August

Saturday, August 1, 2020 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

As I venture into My Garden at the start of each month, keen in my search for life’s Orchids and Onions to share, it is a treat to find a new and regular visitor. As some are aware, I have had more time to watch my garden in the last six months, a leg amputation coupled with a heightened concern for the COVID-19 reducing me to darn-near a hermit. This spring we added more bird feeders and splash a liberal offering of cracked corn for the squirrels every day, so it has become quite busy. On Wednesday we had a convention of blue jays, with at least 14 attending.

But far better, about three weeks ago who shows up but “Roscoe,” now our resident raccoon. Oh, yes, Roscoe comes for breakfast and supper – his dry dog food chunks too big for the birds other than the crows – and now he stays for most of the day, his leafy salad found in the trees where he naps in the sun or hides from the rain. The scampering critter gets along well with everybody, too.

As usual, there is an ample crop of Orchids and Onions and, while July’s rainfall was a couple of inches under normal, we are still up an average about 15 inches above yearly rainfall thus far so America’s gardens, thanks to the quarantine, have never looked better. So, let’s pass out some of the good and bad:

AN ORCHID to every single person whose name is on the ballot in Thursday’s primary election. There are a lot of folks who talk a lot and then there are those “who do” and anyone in this day and time who dares stepping in the ring with the idea of making our world a little better deserves our praise … not our vote, necessarily … but we appreciate your willingness to try your best.

AN ONION to the news media that continues to identify thugs and low life’s as “protesters.” There is a huge difference in those who protest, duly protected by freedom of speech, and criminal “rioters” who break our laws of decency. Each and every rioter, i.e. those who knowingly break the law, should go to jail, all except those who are “organized” by some evil underwriters who have pallets of bricks delivered to street corners and who pay money to assure mayhem. They instead must be sent to our penitentiaries for “a very good while.”

AN ORCHID to our Electric Power Board and a cadre of angels who are enabling our school children Internet access as off-campus learning becomes a necessity. But don’t you wish it didn’t take a deadly virus to spur us in a way our inner-city children could have been reading and learning all summer? We must get these precious kids every possible means to succeed and have fulfilling futures.

AN ONION to the timid souls who believe that if Tom Decosimo wants to present himself as a Republican he should not do that. In the Year 2020, if grown people can’t accept that anyone in the world cannot be who they want to be, it speaks volumes about the kind of people who even notice. Grow up!

AN ORCHID to the phenomenal blessing that the banker-turned-philanthropist Andy Cope gave to Chattanooga for 79 wonderful years before he passed away earlier this week. Andy was the kindest, most sincere Southern gentleman of his day and, while he shied from his accomplishments and his great contributions to many who didn’t know his identity, he was evermore “the real deal” and I know it. Sadly, the day Andy’s obituary appeared that of Sam Gennoe was beside it, and another, this of “Miss Ellen” Abernathy, was on the same page. The pitiful souls who tear down statues while never taking the full measure of our heroes just as unfortunately can’t grasp that Andy Cope, Sam, and “Miss Ellen” are the true fabric of a nation that real men have died to make free.

AN ONION to Signal Mountain Town Manager Boyd Veal for his unhealthy stance that a marker celebrating the life of town founder C.E. James be stricken from town property and rich history because of Mr. James’ alleged racism. To the contrary, I know some of Mr. James’ later generation and each is as fine and as proper as Mr. Veal is reputed to be. All of America has grown inordinately better and stronger and more forgiving in the last century and “what was then” is most certainty “not what’s now.” Celebrate C.E. James’ good, bury his bad, and for God’s sake quit slapping at gnats. A prime example: In July 1886, pharmacist John Stith Pemberton from Columbus, Georgia invented the original Coca-Cola drink. The same man, get this, was a Lt. Colonel for the Confederate Army and during the Battle of Columbus, he suffered a horrific sabre wound in the chest. Struggling with pain, in the years that followed he became addicted to morphine and, without my going all round and round, he came up with a soda drink he hoped would make the world better. It has. Many, many times! Now what are you gonna’ do; fret over 100 years ago or “enjoy the pause that refreshes?” What a no brainer!

AN ORCHID to Zach Wamp for a tremendously enriching guest op-ed this week in the Times Free Press (7-30-2020) on civil rights giant John Lewis. If Zach’s tale about Mr. Lewis embracing Mississippi’s Sonny Montgomery does not make you cry, you need to drink a lot more Coca-Cola and begin at Genesis 1:1.

AN ONION to these damnable late-afternoon storms that interrupt power service, albeit only a minute or two but can take a well-crafted just-written story to the Internet’s Valhalla. There is a way you can retrieve lost and unsaved stories, per dozens of YouTube videos, but you must be able to grasp what those videos are actually saying. The first guy that figures out how to retrieve the lost and unsaved has a guaranteed seven-figure, no cut contract waiting in heaven, believe me.

AN ORCHID to the columnist Ron Hart, for his recent observation there are only three things guaranteed to tell the truth: “A small child, tight jeans, and a drunk.”

AN ONION to the Weather Service imbecile who thought it clever to name a hurricane “Isaias.” Every meteorologist in the world is stumbling over this weekend’s threat to the Florida coast when, in fact, it is easy to say when you understand the ‘root’ of the word. Every Southern child who has endured a too-long late summer sermon with a funeral home fan, knows the name of the prophet, Isaiah. The name ‘Isaias’ is the Spanish-Portuguese word for ‘Isaiah” so instead of saying ‘eye-say-UH’ in a rich Southern voice, you say, “eye-say-ISS,” the last syllable hissing like a serpent, and you can give the weather on any ole channel. (Never name nothing a nine-year-old red-headed boy with a lisp can't say during a house fire)

AN ORCHID for Mike Ditka, the ferocious Chicago Bears Hall of Famer and legendary coach, who recently said, “If you can’t respect the national anthem then get the hell out of the country. That’s the way I feel. Of course, I’m old-fashioned so I’m only going to say what I feel … I think there is a way you protest and a way you don’t protest … you don’t protest against the flag and you don’t protest against this country who’s given you the opportunities to make a living playing a sport you never thought would happen. So, I don’t want to hear all that crap.”

AN ONION to the fact that right now in Texas, somebody dies from the COVID virus every six minutes, 16 seconds. (And Florida just set a one-day record for reported deaths with 186.) Wear your mask!

AN ORCHID for the life of Dr. Joseph Costa, the chief of critical care at Baltimore’s Mercy Medical Center, who died last Saturday after becoming infected by the coronavirus. He was 56 years old.

* * *

BECAUSE AUGUST 1 arrived on a Saturday, the weekly Funnies will appear as The Sunday Funnies tomorrow.

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