May 26 • 11:32 PM
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Grow celery, not crime, in Arizona

Editor's note: The following guest column was written by 'Celery City Charlie,' a lifelong resident of Imlay City and periodic commentator on current and local events whose thoughts have been published in the Times over the past 20-plus years. The opinions expressed are the writer's and do not necessarily reflect those of this publication.

The boys of the Spit & Whittle Club have been attendin the metins regular like and there sure has bin a lot to talk bout. I can't give you an up to date on everthin cause it would take up more time thin I think yer werth. However we'd all gotten together jist a few days ago, chalked up our cues and opened the Jack Daniels when Will Wirthlis sed thet he'd bin watchin the TV and listenin to what was goin on in Arizona with thim undocumented workers. Will sed he jist didn't understand why thim people in Arizona wanted the police to stop people jist by looking at the color of their skin. Well, Mr. Editer, thet started the metin off right. Old Tom opined thet Will din't know anythin and he'd bet thet Will never read the law but was still willin to shoot off his mouth. Tom sed he'd went online and actually looked at thet law and people can't jist be stopped because of their skin color. Tom went on and told the boys thet it were only in the case thet the police had contact with people for some other legal reason and thin only if the police had good cause to think they were illegal.

Mr. Editer, Ray had bin a police officer afore he retired and he added thet police officers make those kind of judgments every day and thet cops jist ain't out there tryin to hassle people. Personal, Mr. Editer, I am jist a little sick and tired of people cryin "racist" when all thet is tryin to be done is to make sure thet the people in this country are here legally. I'm not opposing legal immigration; I'm agin illegal immigration. Somehow it jist don't seem rite thet people thet want to live here and be citizens, the first thing they do is break our laws regarding comin into the country.

Old Tom agreed with thet and sed thet he was fed up with people like Al "Not-so-Sharpton" stickin there nose in where it don't belong. All thim people in Arizona is jist tryin to stop the crime and drugs thets comin in cause the government won't shut down the border. If'n the federal government would do its job there ain't no need for a law like Arizona passed.

I think all the boys, ceptin Will perhaps, was agreed thet it is too bad thet such a law had to be passed but thet the problem is such thet sumpthin had to be done. Nobody wants to stop legal immigration but illegals is a horse of a different shade. I ain't fer sure but to my way of thinkin the Democrats want the illegals in jist so they can git their votes after they grant amnesty. If'n it were up to me, no one who came here illegally would ever be allowed to vote.

Jist as we was fixin to close the metin Ray noticed a scroll across the bottom of the big screen tv. He told us thet Ernie Harwell had died. Well Mr. Editer, we all knew it were jist a matter of months fer Ernie last fall when he was at Coamerica Park but it still were a shock. It's like a part of us is gone, never to return. All the boys told stories of things they remembered bout their lives, Tiger baseball and how Ernie were a big part of the picture. I told thim a couple of anecdotes. The first was some time in the early 80s I were with sum huntin buddies outside of Lusk, Wyoming huntin mule deer. We'd jist finished up fer the day and got in the pickup, turned on the radio and there, clear as a bell, was Ernie Harwell and Paul Carey doin a Tiger ball game. We were a couple of thousand miles away but with Ernie it were like we were home. The second was how I would fer years, put a radio on the floor next to my bed, go to bed with Ernie and the Tigers on and fall asleep while listenin to the game………but I always woke up to hear the wrap up and who won. Ernie was jist like a good neighbor to all of the boys Mr. Editer and we will miss him.

I asked the boys if they remembered what Ernie sed each year at the beginning of the season? I told them thet I could recite it exactly and I did jist thet. I set it down here now fer you.

"For, lo, the winter is past,

The rain is over and gone;

The flowers appear on the earth;

The time of the singing of birds is come,

And the voice of the turtle is heard in our land."

I raised my glass, as did all the boys, and gave a toast to the life and the memory of a great announcer, a great baseball man, a gentleman and a man who loved his God and was happy to join him in this next great adventure.

—Celery City Charlie

May 11, 2010

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