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Art Callaham: Spring is a wonderful time of the year

March 31, 2013|By ART CALLAHAM

What a glorious time of year; spring arrived 11 days ago (7:05 a.m. March 20); today is Easter; the opening game for Major League Baseball is tonight; and last week a conservative Republican delegate from Washington County, Md., introduced a bill with the word “tax” in its title. Wow, where to start!

As most Christians, as well as most believers, regardless of religious persuasion, agree, I’ll start with God. I’m no great religious or Christian theologian so the following paragraph is what the Easter season means to me. Quite obviously, you might see it differently and my only wish is that you reflect on the newness
that comes with the season and remember the blessing of life.

Christians celebrate Easter as the resurrection of Jesus Christ. For me, today is a celebration of the renewal of God’s “right spirit” within me. Oh, God’s right spirit never left me; however, like most of human kind, over the course of a year I probably left God. Today I feel rejuvenated again with the rekindling of God’s spirit in my heart and soul.

For believers and nonbelievers I hope you’ll celebrate the fact that it’s spring (with the cool temperatures outside it might not feel like it, but it is). If nothing else, spring begins the real upswing in the number of hours of daylight. I always get in the doldrums around the first of November each year as daylight hours really begin to wane. But come the first day of spring, those doldrums start to go away. That alone is worth celebrating.

Spring means “spring break” for folks in school; or “spring planting” for farmers; or “spring cleaning” around the house; or “spring training” for sports teams; or “spring fashions” so we all get the new look. Spring goes with so many things marking a new beginning or a move forward.

“On the eighth day, God created baseball” and I bet it was during the spring of the very first year; just kidding. Each year I look forward to the national pastime’s new beginning. Tonight at 8 p.m. when the Houston Astros, now an American League team, open against the Texas Rangers, I’ll be
tuned in. My personal favorites, the Orioles, break my heart almost every year. They open on Tuesday at Tampa Bay and the Nats open at home on Monday against Miami.

Dateline: Hagerstown, Md., March 31, 2013: hey, Mayor Gysberts, let’s get that new stadium built downtown so we can get to see, “up close and personal,” more of the Washington Nationals’ talent; you never know, the Nats might go all the way this year. Isn’t spring wonderful!

Speaking of baseball and our new mayor, David Gysberts, the mayor’s family heritage is Dutch. Bet you didn’t know that there is a Major League Baseball Hall of Fame member from the Netherlands — Bert Blyleven was elected in 2011. There are more “international Hall of Famers” enshrined in Cooperstown than I imagined; a total of 16.

In addition to Blyleven from the Netherlands, there are four from Cuba, three from Puerto Rico, three from England, and one each from the
Dominican Republic, Canada, Germany, Panama and Venezuela. Surprising to me about the list is that the three from Puerto Rico are considered “international” by the hall yet are concurrently legally citizens of the United States. And the three from England — isn’t Cricket different from baseball? More kidding. All told, I was fascinated by the international flavor of our national pastime. I’ll write more on this later.

With genuine sincerity, let me thank Del. Andrew Serafini. Andy might be the first Republican
in recent history to openly advocate for anything about taxes in Maryland. Too often Republicans have been fixated on avoiding the word “tax,” or if mentioned it’s usually criticizing Democrats for wanting to raise taxes.

In my opinion, here in Maryland, Republicans have generally just focused on lowering the spending side of the government’s financial statement equation; revenue equals spending for a balance; while Democrats tend to focus on raising revenue (taxes) to allow for spending.

Now, Del. Serafini, a Republican, has suggested focusing on taxes, the revenue side of the equation, not necessarily raising or lowering taxes but fixing them. Perhaps the Democrats along with other Republicans will finally realize that focusing on both sides of the government’s financial statement might begin to solve our financial problems. Thank you, Andy, for opening the dialogue for Republicans; at least, to begin talking about revenue and spending.

Happy Easter!


Art Callaham is a community activist and president of the Washington County Free Library Board of Trustees.

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