At last, the warmer weather of April — unless Mother Nature has some diabolical weather setback up her sleeve. The month also brings us the annual April 30 income tax deadline. I’m sure you appreciate the reminder.
Manitoba golfers will once again think about swinging their clubs due to the annual staging of the Masters tournament at the pristine playground of Augusta, Georgia, on April. Watching the pros manoeuver around those hallowed fairways really heightens the anticipation of our golf season.
Let’s keep the golf adrenalin flowing with a little Masters trivia as we journey through the month of April:
• What do you remember about the 1956 Masters? That year produced one of the best fourth-round comebacks in the history of the tournament as Jack Burke, Jr. came from eight shots behind Ken Venturi to win.
A sidelight of the event that year was Cary Middlecoff sinking one of the longest recorded putts in a major golf tournament. It happened on the 13th hole and the putt he canned was 86 feet.
• Ever wonder what the Augusta site was before it became a golf course? It’s hard to imagine it as anything else, but originally the land was used as a tree and plant nursery. The property was sold to a group of investors brought together by golf legend Bobby Jones in 1931. The golf course was opened the following year.
The first Masters tournament was played in 1934. The winner was Horton Smith. The idea of holding the tournament in the spring came from a founding member, sportswriter Grantland Rice. He suggested that writers returning from baseball’s spring training in Florida could conveniently cover the Masters.
By the way, Bobby Jones didn’t like the name, Masters, when it was first proposed. He preferred, Augusta National Invitation Tournament. Rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? But the press naturally preferred something shorter and catchier, and referred to it as the Masters. By the second year, the title became official.
During April, there’s National Wildlife Week, so let’s ponder:
• The long-distance speed record for birds goes to the sandpiper. Four days after being released in Massachusetts, a sandpiper was found in Gulfana, South America, a distance of 4,500 kilometers away. Rumour has it that there was a “boarding pass” from a major airline in it’s beak. The bird police are investigating.
• Southern Manitoba’s lakes are the summer home to the largest breeding population of white pelicans in Canada. While we winter in south Texas, they’re doing the same. We note that Texan pelicans are brown. Not quite as impressive, we think.
• Every fall, one million Canada geese wing their way south through Manitoba. Can they knock-off that honking and pooping?
• Why does a raccoon have a mask? There are four theories:
1. It thinks it’s the Lone Ranger.
2. It thinks it’s the Phantom of the Opera.
3. It thinks it’s Zorro.
4. When the raccoon comes out at night, the mask hides its eyes, making it difficult for enemies to spot it in the dark.
• In captivity, crows have learned to count and read clocks.
Why they would do this is beyond us, but nevertheless, look for them enrolling in Grade 3 next fall.
• Half of all the prescriptions in the world are derived from wild organisms.
April 22 is Earth Day, which is the annual event that emphasizes the vital importance of not screwing up our planet’s ecology any more than we already have!
Did you know that:
• By installing a water conserving toilet, you can reduce the water consumption in your home by almost 70 per cent.
• A properly maintained and tuned vehicle burns nearly 15 per cent less fuel. A bonus for the air we breath and our wallets.
April 30 — The income tax deadline! To ease the pain, here’s the humourous side of taxes (if that’s possible):
• The Law of Taxation: Build a better mousetrap and the government will build a better mousetrap tax.
• The old line says that only two things are certain — death and taxes. But the one thing that death has over taxes is that at least death doesn’t get any worse.
• If the truth doesn’t hurt, then what is that I’m feeling when I do my income tax return?
• Truism: Whatever you think of the bureaucracy, you have to hand it to the tax people.
• Harry and Charlie are comparing their financial advisors, and Harry says: “Well, mine is the kind of guy who can put you into a fantastic tax shelter — like Headingley Jail!”