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Gardening in the fair weather of June

You have not said a word about this grand cool weather. You are just sitting there pretending it is your due, when it is most unusual. We have friends who went to Walt Disney World and were sorry they did not have sweaters at night. In June. Unheard of. You can actually walk at 6:30 a.m. and not come home soggy. All of which got us horticultural types out into the yard last weekend, and it was glorious. We have five hands of bananas about to ripen, watermelon plants that have sprouted all over the place and the rain lilies are busy blooming.

We put in good time trying to get ahead of the air potato vines, the things that look like a potato vine and grow inedible potatoes on them. They can climb a two-story downspout in two days after a good rain.

We set ourselves about washing windows, which we do once a year whether they need it or not. This being done, the birds began crashing into them more than ever. If you read a recent Ellen Goodman column, she has a cardinal who does this and she found it was due to testosterone: The male of the species thinks he sees a rival in his territory and knocks himself silly trying to get at him. Ah, spring.

There are lots of folks hereabouts who will know the name Winn Upchurch. A newspaper man for all seasons, Upchurch started his career at the Atlanta Constitution in 1929, worked awhile for Gannett, wrote a Broadway column for five weeklies in New York state during the Depression. After World War II, Upchurch returned to Atlanta where he started a weekly. He sold it to go to work for the Evening Independent here in 1949. He had a column called Our Town Today for five years, then became a desk man for the Independent, then the St. Petersburg Times.

"I used to take supplies to missionaries and lecture about my travels at the downtown churches," he said. "People used to walk to the churches at night back then from all over town."

He also wrote stories about his travels during these supply runs for the Times.

Upchurch retired from newspapers in 1972, at which time he was entertainment editor of the Clearwater Sun, and surprisingly, has been able to kick the writing habit.

He now lives with Baron, a red singing dachshund who owns North Shore Park where Upchurch plays tennis most days. Upchurch says one of his tennis partners is Matthew Morrison, now 85, and former principal of Mirror Lake Junior High School.

She bent over the water fountain at the Asolo Theater and f-f-f-t! The zipper on her close-fitting summer cotton dress split all the way down the back. She quickly backed up to the wall, looking to the right and left, and finally signaled a female usher.

Telling the usher of her dilemma, the upset woman described her husband and where he was sitting, requesting that the usher find him. She could put on his coat, she reasoned, and escape.

The usher said she would be glad to, but had an even better idea. The theater lobby was now cleared because the next act was about to begin. They could whisk back to the wardrobe mistress and she would sew up the offending zipper.

They did, she did, and in a jiffy the woman went back to enjoy the rest of the play.

Just a cute story a friend told about what every woman wants: a wardrobe mistress.

Surely one of the more colorful occasions of the summer is the Swedish Culture Society's Midsommar, June 22. Swedes, Scandinavians and anyone who wants to come, gather then to celebrate the summer. The solstice is June 21.

This information comes to you from Stephen Clayton, secretary of the group which is a part of the St. Petersburg International Folk Fair Society (SPIFFS). The noon gathering at Shelter No. 5, Philippe Park in Safety Harbor will include "wonderful Swedish food, and a beautiful Maypole although it rained last year," Clayton said. The celebration, which used to be at Bay Pines Memorial Park, has moved up county because the group has a lot of north county members as well as south county.

"Costumes are hit or miss," Clayton says.

Other occasions the Swedish culture group promotes are "an unpronounceable holiday" the last of April, crayfish parties in September, the Festival of St. Cecelia, a Swedish Christmas dinner and pea soup and punch parties.