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Joan Knows: Use Arbor Day as excuse to play outdoors

Published: Thursday, April 10, 2014 5:08 p.m. CDT

First there was Florence, a real local character with a sarcastic viewpoint and no hesitation about expressing her opinions.

Then there was Maxine, the Internet creation with a similar profile who has a wide audience that appreciates her candor. We circulate her images so, in a way, Maxine does the finger poking so we don’t have to be so direct. Right?

This is the time of year when the real Florence – actually my mother – would make her annual pronouncement that Arbor Day was her favorite holiday. No decorating, no relatives, no presents. Even if I might, to some minor extent, feel the same way, it is handy to invoke the Florence tale and her finger poke does the job.

And so Arbor Day, this year, is celebrated on April 25 in downtown St. Charles. The Tree Commission is inviting everyone to an event at 4 p.m. at Lincoln Park, which is located at the 500 block of West Main Street.

The “Tribute to Trees” will feature live music, art, a tree raffle, demonstrations and refreshments.  Sounds like a favorite holiday!

Now that most of the ground is snow free – at least temporarily – it is possible to put an ear to the ground and pick up the vibes.

Here’s one: The volunteer advisory board of the Juvenile Drug Court helps to raise funds to pay for some of the incentives used to motivate young people as they move through the requirements of the system. 

For example, the latest expenditure was for GED. services and such items as the graduation program. A special opportunity to participate in fundraising is scheduled for Monday,  April 28. 

California Pizza Kitchen in the Geneva Commons will donate 20 percent of orders to the Juvenile Drug Court.  A slight complication is that you must present the flyer announcing the event. (No flyers can be distributed on site.) 

It gets easier if you contact advisory board treasurer Nancy McFarland at 630-377-7059 or 630-380-9845. 

She can answer questions and distribute the necessary flyer.

Nancy, who is a volunteer with a capital “V,” also chairs the city of St. Charles Youth Commission and pitches in with the Citizens Police Academy. 

Sometimes, she bakes a pie for a lady in a wheelchair. 

So, if her phone is busy, keep trying.

In the good old days, April was the time for getting out those items so kids could play outdoors. In those days there were no trampolines or fancy bicycles.  More likely outdoor play called for a skate key or an empty tin can for the kicking during the ’til dusk hide-and-seek marathons.

The cane pole and bobbin were readied for the “Piano Bridge” dip when the bullheads were biting.

Perhaps the two wheeler and tricycle could be brightened up with new handlebar grips with colored streamers?

And what happened to that jump rope from last year? Need an extra long one for double dutch. You are going outdoors to play, aren’t you? Try to leave all those electronic devices indoors for the old timers.

• Joan Arteberry is a longtime resident of St. Charles. Her columns are featured in the Kane County Chronicle’s Neighbors section every other Friday. Write to her at editorial@kcchronicle.com.

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