It seems that every February, there is a kind of introductory spring when the air warms up and buds are encouraged.
Beware — real spring does not often follow. There can be times of rain and cold still ahead, so don't prune out too much dead stuff just yet. It can protect new growth in case winter takes a late bite.
If roses are beginning to bud, time for systemic feeding/insecticide applications.
If you're like me, you're tired of rain and gloomy skies, even while you're grateful for the water which is accumulating, but I will yearn for wet skies and coolness after too many hot days this summer. I remember as a child in Maryland delighting in the summer thunderstorms that broke sequences of less hot but more humid days than we have here.
I can't let this floral introduction go by without rejoicing in the Christmas amaryllis that produced six blooms on one stalk and two on a smaller stem. Two or four blooms are usual, but six!!
Received an enlightening e-mail from a Legion friend about some military funeral procedures. The flag removed from the coffin is folded 13 times. Over time, the folds have come to symbolize, in order: life, belief in eternal life, remembrance of veterans, our weaker nature and our trust in God, a tribute to our country, the allegiance of our hearts, a tribute to the armed forces, a tribute to Christ, a tribute to womanhood and mothers, and a tribute to fathers.
The eleventh fold represents the lower portion of the seal of kings David and Solomon and glorifies the Hebrew God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The twelfth fold represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies the Christian Trinity-Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The final, thirteenth fold, with the stars uppermost, reminds us of our nation's motto: "In God We Trust." Not only the large coffin flags but even smaller ones are all folded 13 times. I read somewhere that coffin flags, once folded and given to the family, are not to be unfolded ever again.
I think this review of the folding of the national flag serves as a good reminder of just what this country and its values are all about; a reminder, sadly, that is very much needed in these tumultuous days.
A flag hanging out at a private home can be a friendly presence that deserves good care. It should never hang out during bad weather and should be lighted if hanging out at night. (A porch light will do if close enough.) When it has to come down, care should taken so that it never touches the ground. It can then be neatly furled or folded to wait for better weather. This month of presidential holidays is a good time to display a flag.
I've received many grateful comments about the English language use and misuse that have appeared in the last couple of columns, so here are a few more. There's "waive," to refrain from insisting on or enforcing, not to be confused with "wave," such as water moving in the ocean, or a swaying or undulating motion: i.e., flags waving in the wind, waving goodbye.
You can "appraise" the value of something such as land or a house, but you "apprise," make someone aware of, information of some sort. Also, if one is making the best of what one has, it's "make DO," not "make due,' which could mean, I suppose, setting a deadline for payment of a bill or arrival of a train!
For some time, I have wanted to pin down the difference between "shined" and "shone." The first is simply the past tense of "to shine": I shine shoes, silver, etc. I have shined them all week. It's a transitive verb: action is happening to something. "Shone" means to give off light and doesn't need a direct object, just a prepositional phrase: His face shone with delight; the stars shone in the sky. The word is akin to the Germanic "scheinen," and to Dutch, Gothic, and Islandic words. We get it directly from the Old Latin "scinan," via Middle English.
Next column: weaved, wove; dived, dove; pleaded, pled. In parting, there are NO SUCH WORDS as coulda, shoulda, woulda, hafta, wanna or any of their kinfolk! Could, should, would HAVE, and want or have TO. Grr-rr-rr!
In parting, an invitation. At 7 p.m. this tonight, there will be a "meet and greet" occasion for Tony Amador, Republican candidate for Congress from our district. Tony is a retired U.S. Marshal who has worked with the Wilson, Deukmejian and Brown administrations in California, and with both Bush administrations in Washington.
Tony and his wife, Eve, will welcome friends and well wishers at DeGrande's Restaurant, 2370 Maggio Circle, #14. The DeGrande family is hospitable and the food is great, and Tony will have some good things to tell us, so tell family, friends and neighbors, and plan to be there.
Maggio Circle comes off the west side of S. Stockton Street, about a half block north of Harney Lane. It is on the crest of the circle, across from Foster Lumber. The east side of Stockton Street in that area is all residences.
Gwin Paden has been in Lodi since 1957 and has had several careers and lots of community interests and involvements. She is grateful to those who enjoy this column and to Rich and Marty for letting her take up space!