Each spring the swallows come back to Capistrano; the buzzards come back to Hinckley, Ohio; and snow birds and Tiger watchers from all over the world come back to Augusta for the Masters Tournament.
When whippoorwills and owls start calling for mates in mid-March, the Masters can’t be far behind.
Oh, that reminds me of my favorite owl story.
NOW THAT WAS A HOOT: When the Masters Tournament was over one year, Ernie and I went down to the garden to watch the jets fly out of the Thomson airport. We must have gotten there too early, because all was quiet except for the hooting of a lonely owl.
We sat there awhile not saying much, because there wasn’t much to say except to comment on the condition of the tomato plants, all black and drooping on the ground, which we’d already done a couple of times.
“It’s a shame,” Ernie sighed.
“Yeah,” I said with a yawn. “At least the lettuce looks good.”
Then silently three jets in succession rose over the treeline before turning south and roaring off.
Then all was quiet again. After a while, Ernie noticed the owl had quit hooting.
“I guess he didn’t want a bird that big,” he said. “He probably said, ‘Damn, I’d better shut up. I’m going back to my tree.’”
We went back inside shortly afterward. Ernie said he just couldn’t take all the excitement.
WORD POWER: (Fill in the blanks with one of the words listed below.)
1. During the week of March 27 to April 2, the Richmond County Sheriff’s Office reported 181 crimes. The Barton Chapel Road area was hit most often by burglars with five break-ins. It seems the Barton Chapel Road area is a _________.
2. The Springfield, Ga., man who sicced a pit bull on an innocent pig last week must have a __________.
3. By ignoring resistance from an overwhelming majority of the community, Medical College of Georgia and Augusta State University alumni and faculty to naming the merged university Georgia Regents University, one could say President Ricardo Azziz, the Georgia Board of Regents and Gov. Nathan Deal have a bad case of __________.
4. To ensure job security during the Azziz reign, GRU administrators, faculty, staff, doctors, nurses, maintenance personnel and others should practice state-of-the-art _________ in the presence of the president.
5. At Tuesday’s Augusta Commission meeting, the board gave City Administrator Fred Russell 60 days to present the parameters of a potential early retirement system and for he and the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise coordinator to formulate a plan “to maximize the utilization of the Small Business Opportunity program for Augusta Procurements by ensuring that all data to support a future disparity study is being collected and maintained,” with a strategic plan for doing it by June 30. Upon receiving those orders, Russell probably went in a state of __________.
6. After much confusing discussion about what to do about Augusta Municipal Golf Course, commissioners voted to have Russell reject bids from two firms who want to manage the course and seek new proposals from them and First Tee of Augusta. It was the latest move in a rocky three-year effort to find suitable management for the course. Concerning the Patch, commissioners have had _________.
7. At Tuesday’s meeting, Commissioner Marion Williams renewed his effort to find out who wrote a letter to the Federal Transit Administration last year stating that the city was in compliance with all requirements concerning an $80,000 grant. Williams said whoever did lied. Russell and Finance Director Donna Williams both explained for the third or fourth time that the former transit director in 2009 sent the procurement department paperwork with a mistake about the purchase of $80,000 worth of bus engines. FTA auditors found the error in 2010, which made the city liable to repay the $80,000. City officials had been working with the FTA, which had said the money would not have to be repaid but could be used for another transit purchase. Then the agency abruptly reversed that decision a couple of weeks ago and demanded payment posthaste. Williams still won’t let it go. He apparently believes city officials are ___________. And some of his colleagues accuse him of __________.
8. For a second time, efforts to revive the special tax district that funded the Clean Augusta Downtown Initiative for five years failed when commissioners took no action to renew it. Toward renewing the special tax district and CADI. commissioners have been ________.
9. Augusta lawyer Robert Mullins ripped the city procurement department in an article published in the winter 2013 Public Contract Law Journal. Mullins, whose 2006 lawsuit prompted a federal court injunction against the use of race- or gender-based criteria in city government contracting, contends there’s corruption in city procurement. Mullins has accused the procurement department of ___________.
a. Hypobulia; difficulty in making decisions
b. Mendaciloquent; skillful at telling lies
c. Malversation; improper or corrupt administration
d. Logorrhea; excessive and incoherent talking
e. Immorigerous; unyielding
f. Nosism; collective egotism, group conceit
g. Longanimity; suffering in silence over a period of time while brooding on revenge
h. Blabagogy; criminal environment
i. Nutation; the art of nodding, more specifically habitual or constant nodding of the head
j. Cacodaemon; a malignant spirit
Answers: 1, h; 2, j; 3, f; 4, i; 5, g; 6, a; 7, b and d; 8, e; 9, c (Source: The Superior Person’s Second Book of Weird & Wondrous Words, by Peter Bowler)
A REBEL JUST BECAUSE: I received an angry e-mail from Retired Army Staff Sgt. David Shockey last week taking me to task because he misinterpreted my tongue-in-cheek comments about renaming the Confederate Powderworks chimney Sherman’s Sentinel.
He thought I was attacking our Southern heritage, but he simmered down after I assured him nothing could be further from the truth, and we have since become fast friends.
My great, great, great (don’t know exactly how many greats) grandfather Lott Ross enlisted in the Confederate Army in 1862 and served in the Army of Northern, Va., arriving there just after the second battle of Fredericksburg. He was later killed and buried in Fredericksburg.
Five of Shockey’s ancestors were Confederate soldiers and nine were Union soldiers.
“I have J.D. Kirkpatrick’s signature on a copy of one of the pages of the Augusta Arsenal,” he wrote in a an e-mail. “He received horse tack and saddles for his unit when he was with the Richmond Riders in Virginia. And yes. Samuel Slavins (Medal of Honor) recipient of Andrews Raiders is a distant relative on my mother’s side. I always enjoyed the re-enactments in Kennesaw and enjoyed seeing his portrait in the railroad museum in that town. He was actually hanged twice for his crimes against the South. The first time the rope broke since he was last in line and was a fairly big man. He also was the only raider with a family. I also have ties with Jacob Shockey in the Stonewall Brigade. My mom told me I was hardheaded. Now I know why. (Stonewall)”