A big congratulations to the senior students in Huntsville, Kingston and St. Paul, all of whom got to have graduation ceremonies this year.

St. Paul was the only school to hold a ceremony inside. I’m sure the newly air-conditioned facility was appreciated.

I attended Huntsville’s ceremony on July 17. The 125 graduates had their ceremony on the football field. It was hot and humid at the start, but after the sun went behind some trees it was fairly pleasant.

I was so happy for Huntsville High Principal Roxanne Enix. From day one of the Covid-19 Pandemic, and when schools were shuttered in March, Enix said “her seniors” would have graduation sometime, somewhere.

Enix and other administrators had to jump through a lot of hoops to get approval for graduation ceremonies. I’m sure some families were unhappy with a limit of tickets that each graduate received for the ceremonies. I just hope the graduates appreciate the work of their principals and superintendent to arrange the ceremonies.

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I know there are a lot of back-yard gardeners, and I could myself among them. I’ve always enjoyed fresh veggies that I started from either seeds or small sets. This year, however, has been the worst ever for my tomatoes. My wife and I have thrown away dozens of tomatoes that had end rot, where at least half of the small fellers were rotten. 

The tomatoes evidently suffered from a lack of calcium. I’ve been told to add egg shells, pour some milk around the roots and other fixes, but so far I’ve had to rely on the kindness of others for tomatoes [thanks Opie Grace!] And, I LOOOOOOOVE fresh tomatoes. Real tomatoes. Not the kind you find in store, that were picked green and shipped from another state.

Other than a fresh peach, I don’t think anything compares to the taste of a real, homegrown tomato. The late songwriter Guy Clark had it right many years ago:

I’ve been out to eat and that’s for sure

But it’s nothin’ a homegrown tomato won’t cure

Put ‘em in a salad put ‘em in a stew

You can make your very own tomato juice

Eat ‘em with eggs eat ‘em with gravy

Eat ‘em with beans pinto or navy

Put ‘em on the side put ‘em in the middle

Put a home grown tomato on a hotcake griddle

If I’s to change this life that I lead

I’d be Johnny tomato seed

Cause I know what this country needs

Homegrown tomatoes in every yard you see

When I die don’t bury me

In a box in a cemetery

Out in the garden would be much better

I could be pushin’ up homegrown tomatoes

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The Record has covered area school districts as they prepare for on-site learning to begin again next month. Publisher Ellen Kreth has written about virtual learning and other aspects of the upcoming school year.

We’ve written about the added responsibilities that teachers and maintenance people will have with having to sanitize rooms, materials and such on a daily basis.

I had a call last week about another group of people that will be on the front line this fall, and that’s the bus drivers.

The caller said he and others will spend up to 5 hours a day with children, before and after school. Children packed in together will be asked to wear masks on the buses, but this caller questioned how realistic that will be. Bus drivers, especially if they fall into the high-risk categories to catch Covid-19, could be in danger.

Along with the dangers of being exposed to Covid-19, there’s the issue of safety, this caller said. As the caller said, it’s hard enough to control kids on a bus during “normal” times. If people have to be mask-monitors as well as security guards and drivers, there could be a number of issues.

Superintendent Audra Kimball said the buses “will thoroughly  be fogged each day and drivers will help in the evening.”