This April potpourri ranges from warmer weather, gardening and golf to dreaded thoughts of annual income-tax-stress.
A great weather sage summed it up nicely, when he said, “Occasionally a spring day comes along that is so beautiful you hope it’s the pilot episode for a continuing series.”
On such April days, the long-dormant gardening juices start flowing again and thoughts of “turning the soil” enter you winter-ravaged mind — at last.
Here’s a timely thought from horticulturist Pete Moss, who said: “It takes time if you want to have garden-fresh vegetables. And it’s not a moment too soon to get out there and start cultivating the best garden on your block.”
Anyway, while we wait for our tree buds to explode into that wonderful green tinge, let’s head south to Augusta, Georgia, where every April we're treated to fabulous golf and spring-in-bloom at The Masters.
Masters golf trivia:
• Did you know that in spite of the difficulty of the Augusta National course, there are surprisingly few sand traps on the course? There are only about half as many traps, on average, as found on other famous courses. Augusta originally had only 29 sand traps, but others have been added over the years and there are now more lurking amid the magnolias.
• Most golfers have heard about Gene Sarazen’s incredible 235-yard double-eagle on the 15th hole back in 1935. A remarkable feat, but did he win the tournament? He did indeed, although it wasn't easy. That amazing two on the 15th in the final round only helped him to tie Craig Wood after 72-holes of regulation play. But Sarazen went on to win the Masters playoff.
By the way, his first-place prize money was only $750. How’s that for a perspective on changing times and economics on the fairway?
• Most of us hackers would give almost anything to play a round at Augusta, but if the opportunity ever comes our way, it won’t be between June and September, because the course is closed during the hot summer months Down South. What a waste, eh?
And by the way, this year’s Masters is coming up April 5 to 8.
We can hardly wait to hear, “Hello, friends, Jim Nance here amid the blossoming azaleas and verdant fairways of the tournament like no other ...”
April calendar, now and then
April 2, 1513 — Ponce de Leon landed in Florida, searching for the fountain of youth. As it turned out, the fountain was closed and all the hotels were booked solid. Sorry, Ponce.
April 7 — On this day in 1832 in Carlisle, England, a man named Joseph Thomson sold his wife by auction! The price? Twenty shillings and a dog. Surprisingly, his wife consented to the deal. I guess she wasn’t too thrilled with him, either.
April 9, 1913 — A great moment in baseball? It was the opening of Brooklyn Dodger’s park, Ebbets Field. But right from the start, things didn’t go right. First, officials couldn’t open the front gate. Someone forgot the key. Several hours passed for weary fans while a spare key was located on the other side of town. Later, officials paraded to centrefield for a flag-raising ceremony. When they got there, they realized that no one had a flag. Pretty funny, eh? But I don’t remember all this being documented in Ken Burn's outstanding PBS-TV series Baseball.
April 22 — Earth Day. The annual celebration focusing on the need to reclaim the purity of air, water and the living environment. Which brings us to environmental trivia:
• Recycling paper can make a difference. Recycling one metric tonne of paper waste can save 17 trees. A family’s yearly supply of newspapers can be recycled into enough insulation for one house.
• An average Canadian throws out 495 kilograms of garbage a year, at home, work and school.
Will you please find this guy and tell him to smarten up!
• Kitchen and garden waste make up nearly 40 per cent of city garbage. Composting can help reduce this landfill burden.
It’s interesting how life goes in circles. I remember as a kid that composting was standard practice. Then, we moved into the modern “disposable” age and threw everything away. Now enlightened, we’ve moved back the other way.
April 30 — The income tax deadline. To ease the pain, here’s the humourous side of taxes, if that's possible:
• The Modern English word tax was derived from the Middle English taxen, which comes from Old French taxer, from Latin taxare “to appraise, charge, censure,” from the verb form tangere “to touch.” That figures.
• Taxes are a method the government devised to artificially induce the rainy day we’ve all been saving for.
• Tax man to business executive: “Well, I can’t approve your entertainment deductions, but I’m sure you’ll be able to sell the fiction rights.”
• The tax people give you three choices: the long form, the short form and the 10-year stretch.
• These days it takes more brains to fill out the tax form than it does to earn the money. But, it could be worse. The government could send us the forms already filled out.
• Untold wealth: that which does not appear on income tax forms.
• Tax people are very straight forward in their approach. They have a map in their office lobby showing an 8-ball with a little “X” behind it.
The caption is, “You are here!”
• People who complain about taxes can be divided into two classes: men and women.
• Food for thought: A fool and his money are soon audited.