Archive for Thursday, May 4, 2006

May flowers … and mumps

May 4, 2006

If April showers do, indeed, bring May flowers, I'd say if it stays true to form, we'll have a boatload of flowers blooming at the end of May.

Yes, it's a strange weather year. We've been down that road before, but it continues in even more than usual Kansas fashion. If you don't like the weather, wait a minute, it'll change.

If you'll recall, the early and middle parts of April were dry. Then, all of the sudden at the end of the month, the rains came and are continuing. The whole April showers, May flowers thing really hit me today when I walked by a nearby yard.

The irises are really starting to pop out and the peonies aren't far behind. There are other flowers coming around, too. I was sad to see, however, that the lilacs -- one of my all-time favorites -- are pretty much gone. Now I'm kicking myself for not having clipped a few off to fill the office with that wonderful aroma. Oh, well.

As lovely as the flowers are, there is another sudden reality -- grass growing before your eyes. Although I am still on my mowing sabbatical for the most part, with an occasional break and a repeated threat of a big return, mostly I watch as others try to keep up with the lawns spawned from a return to rainfall.

The magnitude of it was spelled out by my lawn mowing hero, Bill Sanders, who you will see all over Baldwin with his rig mowing the big "stuff" as well as yards. I bumped into him at the diner the other day -- it was raining and he couldn't mow -- and I asked him how it was going. He said he couldn't keep up with it. In fact, he has to turn business away because he's got so much to mow. Of course, that made me think of going into the business. Nah, I don't have the equipment or the time.

I have fired up the lawn tractor a time or two, but I'm a bit player at best. The threat involved comes from the Baker Delt House where son Anth lives. About a month ago, he called and said their mower was broken and asked if I'd mow their sizeable lawn. Of course, I said sure. But, I also said I wouldn't be able to get to it until the weekend.

So, I got fired up about getting the lawn tractor road ready as well as ready. After years of little use, it has tire and battery problems that really don't amount to anything since I don't really use it. But, I got the tires aired up and jump started it and I was good to go.

However, the next day I drove by the Delt lawn and it was mowed. While somewhat relieved because it would be a rather long trip over there (I don't have the nice trailer like Bill), I was curious as to why. The next time I talked to Anth, he told me that another member of the house, fellow Townie Kyle Ruona, had gotten bored one day, went and got a mower and did it. My heart was not broken. Really.

And, since I drive by the Delt House daily, I had kept an eye on it and they were keeping up with it. That was until Monday. It looked pretty shaggy. Then, about 4 that afternoon, Anth called. Same plea. "Dad, can you mow the Delt lawn?" Again I said sure, but that I wouldn't be able to get to it until Thursday. I couldn't help myself, though, and had to ask why I needed to mow. "The lawn mower broke again."

So, again, I set my mind on the trip down Baldwin streets, including crossing the highway, and how it would all work. I couldn't wait until Thursday.

It was with much surprise that when I drove by Tuesday afternoon, someone had mowed most of it. When I went by Wednesday morning, it had all been done. The questions linger. The mower got fixed or another one found? Or, was it simply like we had talked about Monday that we were headed for another bout of rain and Thursday might not work. I don't know, but I'll find out during our weekly lunch Friday. Heck, it's mowed. No need to worry.

Ah, college kids. Always a surprise.

There was another one with another spring phenomenon and the other college son. I've watched with interest as the mumps outbreak continues to unfold. Douglas County is the Kansas hotbed with 182 of the state's 382 cases. So far, there have only been six cases in Baldwin, one at Baker and the other five in the school district.

But, as high as those numbers are, they pale in comparison to Iowa, where there were 1,487 mumps cases as of May 2. Wow. Of course, my concern there is Brett being at Drake University in Des Moines. We've been talking about it since the outbreak started, but I'd never asked him how many cases there were at Drake. I figured there were a ton of them, since most of Kansas' and Douglas County's cases are attributed to Kansas University students.

However, in his e-mail today he said they'd only had three cases at Drake. I was dumbfounded, three out of 1,500. He did add, though, that the administration there is worried that their outbreak will happen at finals time and they'll have to send all the students home. What a shame.

But, much like April showers bring May flowers, maybe early April mumps outbreak brings May mumps havoc. Hope not. He's graduating May 14 and I'd hate to see tons of swollen Bulldog jaws. Yes, Drake's mascot is the Bulldog, too. Once a Bulldog, always a Bulldog, mumps or not.

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