By Don Rush

Once again my neighbors dodged the proverbial bullet. Mike and Kathy K., should thank their lucky stars I am not good with remembering dates and events related to dates. Yup, for like the fifth year in a row the neighbors were saved from the horrors they could have been exposed to.
World Naked Gardening Day (WNGD) is an annual international event generally celebrated on the first Saturday of May by gardeners and non-gardeners alike. This past Saturday was the first Saturday in May and I was nowhere near my garden.
You’re welcome — because every year I threaten to remember WNGD.
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In truth, I don’t think gardening in the nude is such a great idea. And, as such, maybe my subconscious mind purposely blanks out WNGD as a safety measure.
Aside from the aesthetics of a pasty white dude radiating in the sunlight, gardening requires the use of a lot of sharp tools like shovels, saws, shears, clippers, nippers, cloppers and other things that with an accidental movement could ruin your whole day. Just thinking about what can go wrong shivers me timbers.
Besides, with all that bending over the chances of me getting a skeeter bite or a sunburn were the sun and skeeters ain’t ‘spose to be or shine is about 100 percent because I ain’t bendy enough to lotion up everywhere that would need lotioning.
Call me a Puritan, I actually feel very comfortable wearing a shirt and shorts whilst gardening. And, I think history will agree with me, it’s best for humanity that only my hands and feet are naked when I garden.
This is in sharp contrast to what the WNGD folks write about gardening in your birthday suit. Years ago, I went to that bastion of truthiness, Wikipedia and found this:
“According to organizers, ‘besides being liberating, nude gardening is second only to swimming as an activity that people are most ready to consider doing nude.’”
Interesting, I always considered the Number One thing to do in the nude, is bathing, followed by other things.
As a young cub reporter for this paper, then Publisher Big Jim Sherman, Sr., I am sure chuckled when he assigned me “the story of a lifetime!”
“Don, I want you to go up Baldwin Road, north of Oxford and do a story on Whispering Oaks Nudist Club,” said he.
“Oh,” said I.
As he was my boss, about half a foot taller than me, and since I was the new guy at his newspaper, I agreed to take on the assignment. With the gusto of a young blood I dug into the story. Pre-internet, I looked to the phone book, found the phone number and quickly called. Gary Moore answered the phone, agreed to let me visit and the rest is history.
The next day was a gloriously, perfect Michigan summer day. The temperature was pleasant, the sun warm in a blue sky, with white fluffy clouds. It was the first and last time I ever visited a nudist camp. Gary was very warm, funny and gracious as he explained what the camp was and was not. It was a family place, he emphasised. Some members brought their children. As he talked, we walked and I took notes. There about me . . .
People were playing tennis. Nude.
People were working on their tans. Nude.
People were fishing in the little fishing hole. Nude.
I was not. Nude. And, quite frankly, fishing in the nude, with all those hooks and things flying around didn’t seem like a good idea — at least for me. I’m not a prude, just shy and I believe folks can do what they want so long as they are not hurting anyone.
Just thinking about it, I wonder if they partook in nude gardening last Saturday?
Thankfully, Gary was not nude for my tour and the interview. He seemed to have a good sense of humor, though, and agreed to a picture for the paper. We had him strip down to his shorts and captain’s hat. Then we had him stand behind a horizontal sign. From the waist up he looked naked. The sign hid the rest.
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Organizers of the WNGD cited the “fringe benefits” of “bare, unabashed recreation” as “the attractiveness of an all-over tan” and “more vitamin D on your whole body.”
I have one word for them, “skin cancer” (okay, that’s two words. Sue me).
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