Public Pens

This chilly overcast day wasn’t the most welcome considering how pleasant it was yesterday, but I will continue to look forward to seeing our temps in the 60’s this coming weekend. Oh how much I long for Spring.

About three weeks ago, I placed an order with the Arbor Day Foundation, and all the happier I remembered that they sold trees because their prices are distinctly lower than what you’d find in the nursery catalogs. I’d ordered from them before, and pleased with what I received, so I figured I’d give them some more business. I’ll likely not get them until April due to the growing zone we’re in, which is fine by me because we never know what our weather will be like this unpredictable month of March.

I decided I was going to do more than my part in keeping America green, because I’m finding all the more not willing to replace their dying trees with something new and different. I was glad to see our City planting more trees in the public parking, but I can’t help having differing opinions on several of their choices, and the ones I dislike the most, are the Locust trees they’re planting. Those unshapely trees are not strong-wind resistant, and can be the messiest of all in the Fall, and especially if they have those nasty seed pods.

I’ve decided the trees more suitable for public areas are: Sugar Maple, Hackberry, the improved Red Oak that drops its leaves in the Fall, and the American or Red Elm. Just yesterday I happened upon a very old Red Elm which nearly took my breath away because of how beautifully draped its canopy was. It wouldn’t surprise me if that tree was 80 or more years old. Believe it or not, Red Elm trees are also windstorm resistant. The real trick to getting their canopies developing properly, is to trim their lower branches high enough early-on so they’ll work all the harder at creating their distinguishing look.

With the Emerald Ash Borer slowly infiltrating our area, we’re going to be seeing thousands of dead trees in North Iowa before it’s all over. To this day, I’m very happy I cut down a number of them about 15 years ago due to the ignorance of the person who planted them. For some reason that poor soul thought he was planting another variety until it was discovered he wasn’t able to tell the difference between tree types. When he found out I cut them down, he was a little angry with me, but my only response was, “You’ve always known that in my book, Ash is trash.” With today’s prices, you can bet that if I’d left them to grow any larger, it would’ve been a very costly undertaking.

I didn’t have any home showings today, but kept busy enough with my first of the month duties. I also had a few unexpected drop-ins, and one of them being a professional I hadn’t seen in well over a year. His main reason for stopping, was to bring me up to speed on some recent events in his office. I was glad to hear all was well with him because I’ve always appreciated his straight-forward professionalism. After he left, I thought to myself, “Why is it that all the more people beat around the bush when either asking questions or sharing their thoughts.” As far as I’m concerned, this business of being politically correct has gone too far to where people are groping for vanilla words just so to keep themselves safely under the radar of public scrutiny.

Around mid-afternoon, a young gentleman who’s moving in the direction of purchasing a home, stopped by to give me an update on how his financing prospects are doing. I was shocked to hear that his ex-wife had given him full custody of their young child. For sure that was quite the jaw-drop for me because that’s one of most un-heard of arrangements. I know it sounds sexist when saying it, but I’ve rarely seen such choices being made, unless a mother has serious enough issues to where the courts made the final choice, because the bond a mother has to her child is exceptionally great. Although he did mention how others were also taken aback when hearing his recent news. Oh well, we can’t rubber-stamp or pigeon-hole every woman’s character.

I’m beginning to grow all the more fearful of that corona virus infecting our community because this winter, there’ve been far more people who’ve come down with one form or another of influenza, and if that virus arrives more sooner than later in North Iowa, I’m afraid the many who’ve not fully recovered from the flu, will be having even bigger battles on their hands. Just today, I would say half of the people who came to my office were either just getting over the flu, or still battling their colds.

One little blip I read today which was very true, which was that our Country may be hit even harder because of how so many people don’t quarantine themselves due to their not being offered sick leave at their jobs, so instead, they go to work sick and infect all the more. As far as I’m concerned, schools are one of the worst places for spreading viruses because most working parents don’t make arrangements for themselves or other family members to go and help with the care of their sick children.

Back when I was going to school, my mother was adamant about keeping her children at home when sick because she always believed it not being kosher for them to be infecting other children. I also remember her saying that we’d likely run the risk of catching something else when in such weakened states. It sure makes sense in these times.

One last thing I must mention, is for all of you to be diligent in using your own pens when out in public while signing something, and if there’s one of those touchscreen pens, put your gloves on before using it. Public pens are the most wicked when it comes to the spreading of viruses.

Tonight’s one-liner is: The way in which worms and viruses spread on the internet, are not that much different in the way they spread in the real world, and subsequently how must be quarantined.

Joe Chodur

About the Author | Joe Chodur

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