Easter has passed, but there’s still a funny bunny my spouse the Binmeister named Bertram, hopping around the Rooney Bin backyard.
Pink petunias are in full bloom in the front yard. The roses and azaleas are showing off too.
Prior to the 14th century the season was known only as Lent. One theory is that it was renamed spring, because that is when plants seem to be springing from the ground. Indeed, spring has sprung at the Bin, and no one could be happier than Binmeister, who has been joyfully hopping around spreading mulch and feeding plants, as well as talking to the chattering squirrels and chirping birds looking for nesting places.
The first day of spring officially arrived March 20, but April is the month of Easter bunnies and silly celebrations that begin with April Fool’s Day and go on to include Holy Humor Month — Did you hear about the Holy Cow? He was legend-dairy. National Columnists Day is the 18th. (send notes of praise to RooneyBin@comcast.net). April 29 is National (cough, cough) Hairball Awareness Day and today is Talk Like Shakespeare Day.
How does one talk like Shakespeare? Say “thou” instead of you and “thine” for yours. Attach an “-eth” or “-est” at the end of verbs, such as “he runneth” instead of her ran. And try speaking in rhyming couplets. Let me know how that works out. If this proves too much for you, hold off until April 25 and call your plumber to celebrate Hug a Plumber Day. I love the Bin plumber/handyman, aka Binmeister.
April is a month of promise and hope, as attendees learned at an April 6 forum hosted by Friends of the Library Ponte Vedra Beach. “It’s National Autism Acceptance Month,” said Amy Ring, librarian. She introduced a book “Hostage to Silence,” written by Brady Wright and illustrated by Gentry Groshell, both of whom are on the nonverbal autism spectrum. “This book opened up a world I didn’t know existed,” Ring said.
Leslie Weed, founder of the HEAL Foundation (Helping Enrich Autistic Lives) talked about her journey to help daughter Lanire communicate. Lanire (now 24) stopped walking and talking at age 3. Leslie scoured the country for a solution and discovered facilitated typing that opened her daughter’s world for her. Then Leslie and her husband Bobby formed the HEAL Foundation to fund camps for autistic youngsters. HEAL has raised about $5 million to give schools iPads and big trikes that help with movement.
Marcus Sowcik, director of BridgeHaven Academy in Ponte Vedra Beach, talked about how BridgeHaven’s middle to high school students type to communicate. “We follow their lead; we listen. It’s beyond words helping them communicate,” he said.
“She leads the way; we follow,” agreed Amy Groshell, mother of Gentry, who communicates by typing on the iPad. “The first word she ever typed with me was ‘hope.’” Her first full sentence of her was: ”I love my mom; she is my hope.” Amy knew “if Gentry could communicate, others could. Something in my soul said this child is intelligent. These people have the key to unlock these brilliant minds.”
Amy and her husband, Howard, built the Peace of Heart Home on Roscoe Boulevard for young adults with autism. The home has a garden that provides income and vocational skills training for its residents. It also is open Saturday mornings to sell fresh produce to the community. To learn more, go to pohc.org.
Danielle Wright stepped up to tell how her son Brady came to write “Hostage to Silence,” which is subtitled, “I know I am heard.”
“Brady has an amazing memory. It took 13 years, but we finally found it. He discovered poetry, and wanted to tell his story about him. We got Gentry to illustrate it. This book has taken five years to make,” Wright said.
There are copies available for checkout at the Ponte Vedra Library.
Classic cars & BBQ
No, that wasn’t Elvis you saw driving a pink Cadillac on Third Street. It was a member of the Cadillac Kings club, heading to One Church Jacksonville Beach at 324 Fifth St. N. for a classic car show and a car-be-que. There is always something going on in Jacksonville Beach, but April 2 was particularly fun-filled. About 50 caddies and other cars from the past showed up for the attraction that raised money to benefit the Southern Baptist church children’s camp.
“We do ride outs and meet ups,” said Nick Dize, son of event coordinator Norman Dize, who was busy directing the classic cars to parking spaces. The pink Cadillac and a blue “woodie” wagon with surf boards a-top were my favorites. Folks that came to see the cars donated $10 and enjoyed ’60s music and a dinner of chicken, pulled pork, baked beans and cole slaw. Local stores donated food and about 50 volunteers took part. A painting of the Elvis caddy done by a parishioner was up for auction.
“We did this event last year as a coming out of COVID,” Pastor John Shultz said. “It’s just a fun time for people to come and talk and engage our community. This puts us on the map.”
springing the blooms festival
Things were also hoppin’ a few streets south, at the Beaches Museum. The museum was “Springing the Blooms.” Master Gardeners wearing butterfly wing capes talked about monarchs and “vertical gardening” and assisted youngsters with harvesting carrots from the museum’s Pablo Historical Park garden. Guest speaker Terry DelValle gave a lecture about the life cycles of butterflies and JoAnne Krestul gave a presentation about vertical gardening.
The Sea Turtle Patrol was on hand to answer questions about the turtles that nest on our beaches, while Coastal Quilters of North East Florida displayed and demonstrated their craft and invited guests to design their own quilts. Nassau County Bee Keepers showed off an active hive and offered samples of honey. Youngsters played drums and guitars on the lower porch of the historic Foreman’s house, while inside the Mayport train station visitors were fascinated by the working train layout operated by Beaches Train Club members.
Canvas & Cocktails
Sawgrass Country Club held a Canvas and Cocktails party featuring local Sawgrass artists and serving a welcoming cocktail appropriately named the “Mona Lisa.” The art work for show and for sale by 25 artists ranged from watercolors and oils to ceramics, photography, silk paintings and wood carvings.
According to artist Marge Monteith, who co-chaired the event with artists Sue Foley and Robert Nickerson, the three-day show attracted “a full house, it was packed, on Friday night when it opened and drew lots of traffic on the following days . Everybody raved about the first night, when we had free food and drinks.”
*The final word …
April does have its downside. Tornadoes are most common in the springtime. Taxes are due mid-April and April 18-22 is Cleaning for a Reason Week. There are plenty of reasons for spring cleaning, but do we have to make it official? Oh well, as Leo Tolstoy said: “Spring is the time of plans and projects.” So follow the Binmeister’s lead and hop to it!
Jackie Rooney is a freelance writer living in Ponte Vedra Beach. Contact her from Ella at firstname.lastname@example.org.