From tennis shoes to walking boots

Published 12:00 am Sunday, May 16, 2004

Who would believe our relatively new and junior representative, Chris Jones, could be allowed to lead a pack of reluctant delegates to the edge and over? Even when it appeared there was not enough collective courage to render unto Caesar the amount necessary to keep the Commonwealth flush. It also prevented us from becoming a laughing stock among states if we had resorted to a referendum. How many really expected a majority of beleaguered citizens to increase their taxes? And if every city had been hammered by their assessor there is little likelihood the &uot;yes&uot; vote would be higher than the 25 percent that can afford it. We don’t expect Chris Jones to hold such a lofty position among his peers a long time but we are pleased, most of us that is, glad he rose to the occasion. As a senior citizen I pick up a few small plums and am grateful.

Thanks to Tom O’Grady and his economic team two new firms have arrived and will add to our tax base. And usually these expansions into our territory mean new employees that also add to the base. Toss in the multiplier effect and the city gains in many ways. Putting up that shell building south of town has proved to be a very good idea even though it took a few years to unload it. We did fine even though they had lowered the price.

So it’s time to erect another as soon as possible. The economy is on a faster track and someone is bound to arrive in town, stay at the Hilton, and look around for a place to do business.

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Who would believe there is an increasing market for the long limos that will be built there? A half to a million seems a fair price for an auto with a hot tub and bar and I can say I know no one with that kind of moola. A nutty friend of mine increased the cost of his wedding by hiring one to deliver the new pair to a cheesy motel. It didn’t seem right and I figured that a second hand Mustang might have allowed for a decent hotel. I will admit I had never heard of Amadas; it sounds like they make athletic shoes.

We are about to learn if the shift to teaching children to pass the required educational tests was successful. It was obvious there were many coming out of high schools with less than the desired tools to find a decent job; most employers expect the new hires to be able to read and write something besides their name and address. Stories I hear about the deplorable results of graduates failing job applications make me wonder if all the kids I see with cell phones in hand are connected to some adult who is telling them how to make it back to the house.

I see a new crop of Master Gardener interns has arrived in time save the planet from mediocrity. I consider myself to be a master gardener if only because my father had a truck garden, my mother a greenhouse and a flower shop, and my brother and I were expected to keep the weeds out of both. I have had dirt under my nails most of my life and spend hours even now each week maintaining several beds of flowers. People always ask who takes care of all these plantings as though I had the money to pay a Master Gardener. I point sheepishly at my wife and I and apologize for not letting out a contract.

I would challenge each of these and past interns to answer a few questions that have flummoxed me for years; maybe they are teaching things I don’t know. I keep buying books of the books on the subject but haven’t yet figured out how to stop a mole or a vole or a deer. I’d be eager to have an intern explain to me how to prune a hydrangea and have it still bloom year after year. I could go on and on with this type of puzzlement and wish just one of those interns would Email me and offer to help.

About the responsibility for the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison; could those guards have been motivated by the stories told by John Kerry? He admitted to taking part in all kinds of atrocities during the Vietnam War. He said he took part in shootings in free-fire zones, conducted harassment and interdiction fire. He used 50-caliber machine guns against people, took part in search-and-destroy missions, and in the burning of villages. But he probably didn’t do anything as mean as embarrassing those &uot;detainees.&uot; And he is running for president.

Robert Pocklington is a resident of Suffolk and a regular News-Herald columnist. He can be contacted via e-mail: