By PETTUS READ
As the New Year makes its presence known by giving the state of Tennessee some real winter weather, that many seem to forget happens during January, those of us who have forgone the pleasure of holding a daily turn of employment seek to do things that doesn't require us going outside, unless it is to feed something other than a human. In fact, I have heard of a few who plan to stay in until the outside temperature reaches their age, and for some, that will be a rather pleasant temperature.
This morning the outside/inside gauge was resting on 15, which made me give up my walk in the woods and settle for a bit of household R and R watching my high debt TV, which is the better name for it due to what you can find on there. I must admit I have become somewhat attached to a TV program that aired back in the early 90s called "In The Heat of The Night." It was one we didn't watch back then, but for some reason I find it interesting now. I guess because the police usually come out ahead and I'm one who was taught to respect law enforcement.
I now serve on our county's Public Safety Committee and see many of the things that affect our county in the way of crime. I have gained some understanding of the operation of our Sheriff's office, but nothing like the knowledge of our law enforcement individuals who have made protecting us their life's work. To even learn more, I have agreed to participate in the Sheriff's Citizen's Academy, held twice a year, to see the daily operations firsthand. Hopefully, in fifteen weeks, I can come out knowing much more about the many aspects of police work from investigations to traffic stops. I know what they do is real life, not a TV program, and the support of the citizens that they protect is much needed.
As I have been forced to watch the square box a little more the last few weeks, the things that have captured my attention have been many of the commercials. Since this is the cold and flu season, most of the ads have been dealing with what to take for all the problems associated with these diseases. The one that keeps coming to the forefront, and is noses ahead of the others, is the one that has to deal with mucus. I am becoming so tired of seeing that green talking thing with feet trying to go to work with folks. He says he is mucus, but to me he is something more from the nose that simply needs a tissue. I can't understand why commercials don't have a little more class.
After the TV gets to become a little more than I can take, I usually go to the best standby of all for a really cold day, and that's a good seed catalog. Usually, when days seem the coldest, those who produce seed catalogs know that somewhere out there a person like me is needing a reminder that spring is not that far off. I really enjoy going to the mailbox and finding brightly colored seed catalogs. It warms the cockles of my heart (whatever they are) just to get a catalog of this year's hottest new seeds. Not meaning I'm going to plant all of them, but when you have cold cockles you need them warmed every now and then.
I know the new way of looking at these items is by the Internet, and I do some of that, but something about holding a seed catalog in your hand is more personal than moving a mouse around and pointing. I was taught not to point anyway and the seed catalog is more in the right direction when dreaming about spring.
The other day as I scanned through my catalog collection, a strange packet of materials had made its way into my treasure trove. There amongst the Burpee and my Farmers Almanac collections was an advertisement package of how to get a CD to do your income tax yourself. At that sight my cockles soon turned cold again and spring seemed to be not that pleasant of a thought. April 15 does come in the spring and it is one day I had just as well forget. But, being an American citizen I do receive the opportunity to participate in this annual event and I guess I will just have to make the best of it.
Hopefully, the weather will break soon and all us can get our cockles warm again, but in the mean time get those shoeboxes of receipts out of the closet, put them next to the seed catalogs and kick back for an afternoon of Bubba Skinner arresting someone down in Mississippi. Before you know it, we will have spring.
-Pettus L. Read writes for the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation. He may be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org