A nice Easter, Bluebirds, Sheriff Race

Published 10:01 am Thursday, April 5, 2018

What a pleasant Easter weekend. Temperatures were moderate, perfect for Easter egg hunts and family gatherings and sunrise worship services.

I spent a lot of time in graveyards scrubbing the tombstones of relatives and tracing them back to great-great grandfather Charles Sparks and great-grandfather Frank B. Ward, both in the Bethlehem United Methodist Church cemetery. Both survived the Civil War.

I used a wire brush on the relative’s stones to remove the grit accumulated from the past year and splashed on vinegar to bake in the sun. It worked.

Everyone in the graveyard seemed to have their own cleaning formula.

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Wandering about the Clemmons Moravian Church cemetery last week I began reading the epitaphs on the tombstones.

I found my old friend Felix Hege’s grave. He died in 1985, and we shared an affection for trains. His stone quoted the familiar words of the prophet Micah: “What doth the Lord require of thee but to do justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God.”

I liked the words on the stone of Rodger Lee Vanderford who died in 2009, “Beloved husband and father. He learned, he loved, he served, he grew and left the world a better place. Thy will not mine be done.”

Armando Lee “Bud” Fulton had a baseball and bat etched into his stone.

My favorite inscription was on the tombstone of Charlie W. Cherry: “It is not what you gather but what you scatter that tells what kind of life you have lived.”

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I spotted a pair of phoebes in the back yard last week. Maybe they will stay. A robin was collecting nesting material.

Male bluebirds have put on their brilliant plumage for spring, and I’m seeing them all about these days. I’ve cleaned out their boxes in preparation for nesting. They will be mating, and get very territorial.

Oddly, I counted six bluebirds flying in and out of a box in the back yard during the coldest days of winter. How they all squeezed inside I don’t know, but they were obviously desperate to stay warm.

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The five-man race for sheriff in Davie County could help the county’s influence in other contested races during the May primaries. Political writer John Hood cited studies this week showing that nearly half, 46 percent, of voters can name their sheriff. Just eight percent could name N.C. House speaker Tim Moore. Only 22 percent knew their state representatives. By contrast, 89 percent could name Vice President Mike Pence, and 82 percent could name Gov. Roy Moore.

The Davie sheriff’s race is expected to increase voter participation, which could benefit Sen. Dan Barrett’s chances and other Davie politicians running in multi-county districts.

“As we move into the 2018 election cycle, don’t be surprised if … sheriff races prove to be more heated, and more interesting, than the congressional, legislative, or judicial contests. In fact, the outcomes of some supposedly higher-profile party primaries or general elections might actually be affected by differences in turnout between counties with competitive sheriff races and counties without them,” Hood wrote.

– Dwight Sparks