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Column: Kmart stores remain few and far between
Harris Blackwood
Harris Blackwood

In this column, I try to write about things on a timely basis.

I found myself scratching my head about May. I had already written about graduation and Mother’s Day and trying to figure out where to go next.

May is an interesting month. For those of you who prefer the King James Version of the Bible, well, it was first published in May 1611.

This pretty much ends any notion that Jesus spoke in Old English.

The first Kmart store opened in May 1962. According to information I could find, there were eight Kmarts left at the beginning of this year.

Most of them were in places like Guam and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

There hasn’t been a blue light special in Georgia for several years.

By the way, most people on Guam speak English, though there are some people who speak the native language, Chamorro. If you don’t speak Chamorro, you might have spoken it yesterday.

I digress.

In May of 1961, Alan Shepard became the first American in space. He really didn’t go anywhere, just up and back down. It was also in May of 1961 that President John F. Kennedy told Congress that he wanted to land a man on the moon by the end of the decade. Sure enough, we did in 1969.

In May 1887, Buffalo Bill’s “Wild West” show opened in London. I wonder what the British thought of that. In May 1941, New Zealand became a British colony. I don’t think Buffalo Bill ever performed there.

In May 1954, a medical student named Roger Bannister became the first man to run a mile in less than four minutes. This probably came in handy when he was a full-fledged doctor and was paged for an emergency.

In May 1796, a doctor named Edward Jenner coined the term vaccination for the administration of a smallpox vaccine. I guess “shot” was a bit frightening.

About 100 years before that, a physicist named Gabriel Fahrenheit made thermometers more accurate by using Mercury to determine temperature.

I guess Chevy or Ford had not been invented.

On May 29, 1660, King Charles II was crowned king of England. He was known as a bit of a rambler when it came to fidelity. In May 2023, King Charles III was crowned as king. You can add your own comment about fidelity.

On May 2, 2011, U.S. special forces killed Osama bin Laden during a raid on a secret compound in Pakistan. I won’t say it was good, but I sure didn’t shed any tears.

Harry S. Truman, who is one of my favorite presidents, was born on May 8, 1884. Truman was a no-nonsense guy, and was known for walking around Washington. 

When he first became president, he took his pay check and went to the Riggs National Bank, which is pictured on the back corner of the $10 bill. Before somebody else bought the bank, they used to have a slogan of “right on the money.”

Well, there is a snapshot of May. I invite you back in June when I will once again peer into the history of our sixth month, including the birthday of the guy who wrote this.

Harris Blackwood is a Gainesville resident whose columns publish weekly.