Books, flowers and yard care make it feel like spring

Mansfield News Journal, OH
April 21 2004

Books, flowers and yard care make it feel like spring

By Ron Simon
News Journal

Doesn’t it feel like summer is just around the corner?

Don’t you just want to start planting flowers?

Wasn’t that yard a tough mowing job first time out?

Didn’t it drive you nuts when the weed-wacker went out and you had to
dig out those old yard clippers again?

And don’t those daffodils and tulips look wonderful?

The grape hyacinth never looked healthier.

It’s just a supreme joy to sleep with the windows cracked open.

This is a true case of spring fever. I’ve already spent part of a
Sunday afternoon sitting atop Mount Jeez in my canvas chair with a
good book on my lap.

I’ve wal-ked a bit along the Mohican River and peered at emerging
flowers at Kingwood Center.

Mostly, I’ve just enjoyed the sun and sort of remembered the chill
horrors of January.

Supposedly, there are a few chilly bits of winter still lingering in
Canada and waiting their chance to come down and put the frost on the
flowers. But I doubt they will amount to much.

This truly feels like an early spring and a warm summer ahead. It’s a
make-up for last year’s cool, endless spring weather.

Of course, there is the dark side. While I was spending chill winter
nights in the recliner chair with soft music and good reading, winter
was kicking the slats out of my house.

Ice, wind and rain loosed some siding. Hail beat away at the paint
and opened cracks that turned into crevasses. All that damage sort of
took away from the beauty of the flowers. But the summer is long and
somewhere down the line I’ll get out the scraper and the paint and do
what’s needed up to a point.

I think I would rather weed a garden than try to fix things around
the house. Short of replacing burned out bulbs or dumping drain
cleaners into pipes, I’m not very good at that sort of thing.

But it will get done. Sort of. I’m not a fanatic about it. Were
Victoria still living there, I’d be a fanatic. She had higher home
standards. But my wife is gone, replaced by a lackadaisical bachelor
who would live in a condominium if he could afford it. One, of
course, surrounded by flower beds.

Somebody else could mow and do maintenance and I would fool around
with the flowers. Just as a hobby. My main hobby would be sitting out
on the porch reading. I’m good at that.

When Easter came, my Lenten book embargo ended and the books came
flowing in. Four on baseball, one on streetcars and two mysteries
wound up on the shelves. Then came the fun stuff. A study of the
American Army between 1898 and 1941 called “The Regulars” is ready
to go. So are the two latest books in Eric Flint’s 1630s alternate
history series. This guy is prolific.

A book called “High Steel,” about those ironworkers who built all
our big bridges and skyscrapers, is out as is a history of the
Armenian massacres “Caravans to Oblivion” and an odd little volume
about how an outbreak of the bubonic plague in San Francisco’s
Barbary Coast was contained back in the early 1900s.

I’ve added Thomas Merton and Andrew Greeley to my theology deck and
I’m waiting for the second volume of Deadball Era baseball stars to
come out.

So it’s a true spring. Lots of new books, lots of crab grass, lots of
maintenance projects and lots of optimism. Life always looks new and
good in April, in between rain storms.

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