I’M APOLOGIZING for letting the Vernal Equinox sneak past us (Saturday, March 19, this year) without you giving proper notice.
It’s always a big day for me.
NOT JUST because day and night are absolutely equal.
NOT JUST because the sun shines directly on the equator.
NOT JUST because exactly half the Earth is dark while exactly half the Earth is lit.
NOT JUST because Chevrolet named a nifty car Equinox.
Coincidentally, when day and night are of equal length, if the day is 12 hours long then so is the night. Isn’t that cool? It’s called math.
No, it’s an important date because the Vernal Equinox (sometimes called the ‘Spring Equinox’) is one of two dates I set aside each year to (1) wash and change sheets; (2) vacuum floors; and (3) scrub my shower stalls, whether or not they need the attention.
I am usually vigilant for the arrival of the Vernal Equinox because, if I miss it, then I can’t do those chores until the ‘other’ significant date, the Autumnal Equinox (sometimes called the “Autumn Equinox”) rolls around. It’ll happen later in the year and I’ll try to remind you, and heaven help me if I also miss that housecleaning date because then I’ll have to wait until the Vernal Equinox of 2017 before I can clean again. But that’s another story and I’m sure you wouldn’t be interested.
At any rate we’ve got plenty of time before Autumn 2016 gets here and I’ve marked the date down on every calendar I can find.
I reserve important household chores for the Equinoxes so to assist me in the important task of eliminating needless repetitive housekeeping effort.
After all, you can only scrub off so much shower stall grunge, even if you’ve got the recently-introduced larger can of New and Improved Comet Cleanser, and a good quality Brillo Pad (both of my regular readers will probably recall a deep-thought and brilliant piece I once wrote about discovering fresh-scent Comet Cleanser with 20% more of the product at no extra charge in the larger size decorative container).
One thing I’ve often used to help me be alert to the near presence of the coming and going of the Vernal Equinox and Autumnal Equinox is that they happen generally right after we change our clocks for Daylight Saving Time.
Or they happen right before we change clocks, I can’t remember which, right now. All I know is that for half of the year the clock in my buggy is right; and half of the year it is either fast or slow by an hour. I can’t remember which, right now.
It is so easy to get confused, and it helps if you remember the familiar saying: Spring forward, Fall back.
Or, as I sometimes like to say: Vernal forward, Autumnal back.
Clever, huh? I just interchange those terms when I’m trying to impress someone. I’m not trying to impress you by having a sparkling shower stall; I’m trying to impress you by CLAIMING to have a sparkling shower stall. There’s a difference. The latter is soooooo much easier than the former.
ANIMAL CRACKERS. Someone helpfully told me that those pesky clouds of hungry blackbirds at my birdf eeder I wrote about last week will hang around here until the Autumnal Equinox.
I think ‘someone’ is trying to stir things up.
THE GOOD EARTH. On a Sunday afternoon cruise north toward Glenwood, the Navigator and I noticed that hardwood trees north of Tower Mountain have considerably less fuzzy green growth than stuff growing south of the landmark.
For the uneducated few who do not know, Tower Mountain is located between Murfreesboro and Kirby and it has — ta da — a fire tower on top. The logic of the name is overwhelming, even for us math specialists.
The Navigator, being a Murfreesboro girl, sez that EVERYTHING, even people’s hearts, is/and/are colder north of Tower Mountain.
HOW COME Arkansas never gets an NCAA opponent that self-destructs in the last 30 seconds of a game like Northern Iowa University did? NIU blew a 13 point lead, maybe bigger, and when it really counted they played like the Razorbacks usually do and gave away the game. It’s okay. I was sorta rooting for the Aggies on account of JB Davis. But I sure did enjoy seeing Texas and Kentucky go home early.
THINGS I LEARNED from reading email: A whale swims all day; it eats only raw fish and drinks only water, yet it is still fat.
HE SAID: “I must learn to love the fool in me – the one who feels too much, talks too much, takes too many chances, wins sometimes and loses often, lacks self-control, loves and hates, hurts and gets hurt, promises and breaks promises, laughs and cries.” THEODORE ISAAC REUBEN, American psychiatrist
SHE SAID: “I never cut class. I loved getting A’s, I liked being smart. I liked being on time. I thought being smart is cooler than anything in the world.” MICHELLE OBAMA, First Lady
SWEET DREAMS, Baby
Name My Buggy
MY TRUSTY BUGGY and I are about to part ways.
It’s time. It is probably 10 years old (I bought it new in 2007, but I betcha it was made in 2006), and the odododometer is getting very close to rolling over 200,000. So, I have gotten my money’s worth.
Except for one thing.
I am trading it off and there are at least two dozen buttons on the radio that have never been touched. Honest. It has a five-disc player and I inserted my favorite five discs when the buggy was new. But I never figgered out how to change them, or even play them. So, now I will have to give up those five discs ‘cause I don’t know how to remove them.
But I don’t even remember which ones they were. Besides, I am told that people don’t use discs anymore. They use some kind of tooth, or something.
This new truck has a camera hidden somewhere in the back bumper. It shows you what you just ran over. I hope that little TV screen doesn’t show commercials. I’m getting sorta tired of some of them. Especially those political commercials.
Maybe the truck will come with a remote control for the TV. I sure hope so. I lost the TV remote in my house and, not only can I not adjust the sound or change channels, I have been unable to turn the TV off for about three months. It’ gets tiresome after midnight.
If I ever find the remote I bet it’s right beside the cellphone I lost.
I never did give my buggy a name. I feel guilty about that. Maybe a good name will occur to me for the new one. This one, the 2007 one, has taken me on some fine Bucket List trips. Mt. Rushmore, Devil’s Tower, Grand Canyon, Meteor Crater, Roswell, Charleston Harbor, and about nine round trips to the Alabama Gulf Coast. Plus, all of those Arkie Road Trips to interesting places right here in our own back yard.
I hope the new one — whatever its name is — has many good trips, too.
THE GOOD EARTH. There were little yellow traces of it already, but this last weekend really saw the release of clouds of pollen from all of its sources here in southwest Arkansas. One of the drawbacks of pollen is that I can now see where a cat has walked across the hood of my buggy. Now where did I store that cat trap?
I saw an article in the daily newspaper a few weeks ago, and it said were were going to suffer through a record period for allergies and sinus problems. Due, of course, to global warming. Don’t argue with that if you can’t stop sneezing.
EAT MORE PANCAKES. For the first time in memory, maple tree farmers have ‘tapped’ their trees in January instead of late February, and the trees are producing more maple syrup than ever before.
The trees only give the sweet sap when daytime highs rise above freezing, and nighttime lows fall below 32. The swing in temps creates the pressure which forces sap out of the trees and into those stupid little buckets that the New England maple farmers use. And New England is having a record warm winter.
I can’t eat more than 30 or 40 pancakes at one sitting, and I usually go through about a half-gallon bucket of syrup per week. Well, possibly I exaggerate.
A maple tree has to get to about 40 years of age before it ‘gives’ syrup, according to ‘LiveScience,’ and this year’s erratic swings in temperatures may cause a change in the quality of the syrup. Food scientists are watching trees and thermometers nervously.
I just mention this so you’ll be aware. Go to Cash Saver right now and buy a couple of gallons of maple syrup just in case.
TAKE IT BACK, the Navigator said through gritted teeth, accusing me of prevarication and mendacity in last week’s column in which I appeared to quote her on the coldness of hearts north of Tower Mountain. She said no such thing and, in fact, used to have warm and loving relatives living north of Tower Mountain, except that they are miffed and are no longer speaking to her because of what I thoughtlessly wrote.
THINGS I LEARNED from reading email: If walking is good for your health, the postman would be immortal.
HE SAID: “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and strong. Because someday in your life you will have been all of these.” GEORGE WASHINGTON CARVER, botanist and inventor
SHE SAID: “When I stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say, ‘I used everything you gave me’.” ERMA BOMBECK, columnist
SWEET DREAMS, Baby