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Warren Dixon: Why we need 'Wring'

 Our buttercups are blooming. We haven’t finished raking the leaves that we had hoped the wind would blow into our neighbor’s yard and the buttercups are blooming. 


 It’s always seemed unfair to me that spring comes right after winter with no demilitarized zone, no buffer, nothing to absorb the shock. You lay around all winter like a hibernating Yorkshire hog, just coming out occasionally to slurp up more slop. Then suddenly spring slaps you in the face, rudely awakens you, expects you to hop off the couch all trim and energetic, click your heels, flex your muscles and tackle the yard.


Yeah, right.


We can’t be expected to perform on nature’s whim. Just because the weather has warmed up is no sign we have.


What we need is Wring, a short grace period between winter and spring during which all the sins of winter are forgiven. It would be a time of slight warming, a period in which all lawn and garden centers are closed and no grass is allowed to grow. Small engine repair people would gladly make house calls and find and repair, without snide comments, all lawn mowers, leaf blowers, weed trimmers and every other motorized piece of equipment that normally refuses to start in the spring. They would do this in silence even if you haven’t changed oil or spark plugs in decades. They would also change all digital clocks in anticipation of Daylight Savings Time. 


Wring would come just after basketball season ends. It would be a peaceful time, no mosquitoes, no voles, no Japanese beetles. Squirrels would not be allowed to mate. There would be no school break during Wring. No chickweed could propagate. The time would change in 10-minute increments every week until we had sprung forward an hour. No income taxes would be due during this period. You could bring out all the ferns you stuck under the house back in the winter and they would magically turn bright green overnight. 


This would give all us couch potatoes time to unfold from our chairs, find our short sleeved shirts, recuperate from our basketball losses, locate the Ben Gay and remember where we put the instructions for the “Easy Start Weed Eater.”  


There’s something a little presumptuous about someone who will hibernate like Smokey the Bear all winter and then think he can just bounce out and start working in the yard at the first hint of spring. I like to slip into spring slowly, like dipping into ice cold water. 


Springtime doesn’t wait for you, like it should. There is so much to be done that one has to immerse himself quickly. In just over a month, our neighbors will have mowed their yards twice and the grass will not even be up to their ankles. But then they all fertilized their yards against my advice, so their punishment is appropriate to the crime. 


We have tried to get ahead of spring, knowing from experience that it will come no matter how we deny it. March Madness will be here before you turn around, Carolina and Duke will be on their respective buses home and we’ll be looking for the weed eater. 


We’ll probably have an obligatory snow for the year. It will thunder one night and a 15-minute flurry of snow will follow on the second night. You will have to be up on the way to the bathroom at 3:00 a.m. to see it. We probably won’t even get a chance to dash to the store for milk and bread. Schools will close the next day.


The bluebirds have never left our yard but are now eating the seeds the goldfinches fought over in the summer. If the bluebirds are still hanging around, can spring be far behind?


We’ve been out in the back yard to survey fallen limbs and leaves left over from last fall. You’d think winter winds would have blown them off into the friendly confines of the neighbors’ spacious yards, neighbors whose leaf blowers will still crank. But, no, they stayed home all year. I am overcome with their expression of loyalty. 


Don’t get me wrong. Spring is my favorite season. But we really do need a safe-guard, a cushion, between winter and spring. 


Baseball has a pre-season. Why can’t we?


Recently I was accosted at Something Different restaurant not only by the owner, but also patrons and some of the staff. You’d think you could enjoy a meal without being constantly harassed by questions like “Have you retired … again?” Owner Sinan Nardali, who often goes squirrel hunting with Willard, was the first to attack me. Then Joe Allen joined in. Joe Cuthbertson had earlier jumped me at the Post Office and then Helen Teter had politely chided me. It dawned on me that these are probably the only four fans I have and, after all, it is nice to be missed. 


So, no, I haven’t retired. I have missed a few columns and I apologize. I have been heavily involved in finishing a museum here in Liberty, but watch this space. I’ll be back. And thanks for caring.