Larry Hypes mug

Larry Hypes

Surely several of our readers are old enough to remember what spring looked like. There was a time when we wore out a pair of windshield wipers in the winter with all the snow and ice but now, despite rain-x and whatever other wonder potions we may buy, there is no remedy for this current precipitation. Somewhere I used to have a micrometer, those little devices for measuring very small amounts of variance and if I could find it I suspect that the wiper grooves in my windshield would be much deeper today than in January.

Concerning depth, the area where the garden might go is just as high and unblemished as ever. No blade, no disc, no hoe or mattock has scarred the surface of the ground. It may well be that we have a small family observance on the Fourth of July to celebrate the planting of tomatoes. Nevertheless, if and when anything is planted the soil should be well watered and an absolute vegetable explosion is to be expected.

As for the grass (and you know how much I like to mow and that new growth is fearful of the sound of my mower) I feel much like the commander of a submarine these days. To get from one end of my yard to the other, a periscope would be a handy thing to have. Most likely, there are lawn chairs, perhaps a few tables and maybe even a large area where the buffalo roam somewhere in that unending expanse of greenery.

However, I am not ashamed and not worried that the neighbors will be angry with me because the height of the grass is such that no one is visible behind it. They probably think we have moved and so have likely blamed it on the new neighbors. Although my wife is patient with me I am sure she will be happy when once again she can look out of the living room window and once again be able to look down rather than up at the dandelions.

That about does it for the agricultural lessons but at least one thing in this topsy-turvy universe is still very predictable. Not many weeks ago, I took the foolish liberty of buying a supply of automobile cleaning products including a bucket and a can or two of the finest car wax. As you can imagine, this was done on a day with a clear and pleasant sky. Immediately upon leaving the auto parts store, the clouds began forming on the horizon and I have not seen the wild blue yonder in its entirety since.

Now, I have gotten several commendations over the years from the local farm and commerce groups for helping to end droughts because it is an absolute guarantee that as soon as I wash the car and reach for a rag to wax the beast, the rain will come pouring down. In fact, for many years that was an easy way to keep the mileage on cars down – I would wax one and refuse to run it on wet road so sometimes a vehicle might sit on the driveway until it was time to get a new sticker. That is not a problem so far this year. I have been spared the trouble of washing any of the fleet, I just poured detergent on them several weeks ago and now they are all spotlessly clean. Guess you can’t complain about everything.

For example, many of our problems are nothing compared to the agony which may have to be endured by the major league baseball players if indeed some kind of a shortened season is scheduled for later this year. Have you heard that players are not going to be allowed to spit this season? Why, even a self-respecting llama would refuse to abide by such silliness. To make things worse, they can’t hug or high five and have to maintain social distancing.

There is even talk that players will have to wear their uniforms to the games. Whether or not they have to wear them home is another matter but if we become too clean and neat for nine innings that might not be much of an issue. I have not yet seen whether it is OK or not for players to sweat during the 2020 season.

One more rule that has been proposed is that players on the road trips will not be allowed to leave their hotel rooms. Thank goodness players like Babe Ruth have long since retired. On a lot of teams over the years, some of the nighthawks might as well have had a revolving door on their rooms with all of late-evening activities going on. Baseball is supposed to be a fun game but this year, at least, it might have to be played just for the money. No fans. Only television and radio personnel in the parks to describe the action.

It might even get so bad that bat flipping, dust-kicking, and umpire-baiting is no longer necessary. Next thing you know, we will be so desperate for something to do that the participants might even stand and sing along with the National Anthem.

Oh, well, one day this rain will stop and the roar of the crowd will once again be drowned out in rural America by the roar of the lawn mower – or maybe even the tiller.

— Larry Hypes is a teacher at Bluefield High School and a columnist for the Daily Telegraph. Contact him at

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