By BOB URBAN

rurban@tnonline.com

Memorial Day. It's my favorite holiday weekend of the year. Everybody feels patriotic. The weather has finally warmed up. School's almost out and summer has unofficially begun. Enjoy it everyone. It only comes around once a year.

A letter to the editor appeared in The TIMES NEWS in recent weeks. It was penned by Kelley M. (Paul) Fritz, a 1995 graduate of Panther Valley High School, and a former JROTC officer. Her feelings about the school district not eliminating the JROTC program because of financial reasons is the best argument I heard yet in favor of retaining the JROTC. If you missed reading it, check it out on our website.

Two meth labs were raided in Lansford. One exploded. A number of people arrested. A community's on edge, wondering if one of these illegal operations will move in next door to them. But you know the saddest thing to come out of all these operations? Young kids, all eight years old and younger, were in those homes when the raids occurred and when the meth was being brewed. How sad. And you have to wonder, what kind of future do those kids have, being influenced by such irresponsible parents?

But one bright light that shined through those raids, is how the Lansford firefighters and police rallied to the aid of those children, purchasing food and clothing for the youngsters.

Pearl Candrell is my kind of girl. In case you never heard of Pearl, she's been around awhile. She's 105 years old, a real old fashioned Texas granny. But here's why I like her. Know the reason for her longevity? She was asked that question, and here's her reply. "I love bacon, I could eat it every meal, and I do." That's what she told NBC TV.

My kind of girl.

Are you ready for the 17-year Cicado invastion? It's coming, we're told. Soon we'll be hearing that constant buzzing in the trees that trumpets their arrival.

While most of us will be seen squishing them if they find their way into our homes, some folks are contemplating eating them. Yep!

Comparing them to bottom dwelling sea creatures like shrimp and lobster, Cicado are considered delicacies by some indiscriminate gourmets.

Put a price tag pf $20 a pound on them, and the brave will flock to their favorite market to sample them.

According to Consumer Reports, the electric-poered Tesla Model S. is the top car on the market today. Never heard of it? Neither did I before I read that the Silicon Valley vehicle ranks highest and sells for $89,650. For that price it better be good.

Charles X. Block's men's store in Tamaqua is celebrating 90 years in business. Hearing that, I remember my father taking me to Block's for my first suit of clothes for confirmation about 60 years ago, and most recently I visited the Broad Street store for a taxedo to wear at my son's wedding last May.

I can also remember my father being fitted for a suit, and then dickering with old Charlie, trying to get him to throw in a free shirt, or necktie, or a belt.

Good luck to Block's for the next 90 years.

I tried to tell my wife we should drive to Zephyrhills, Fla. last week to buy our Powerball ticket. But would she listen? No. Something about it being too long a drive for a $3 ticket. Now see what happened. That's where the $590 million Powerball was sold. I could have had a piece of that action.

Want to know how much money was in that lottery? The winner could have taken the buyout (more than $250 million), invested in conservative stocks and bonds, and, at 3 percent interest, garnered $8.8 million a year without ever touching the original money. Now that's a lot of dough.

I'm betting this area hosts more kids' fishing derbies than anywhere in the state. At least I get that impression when I read the TIMES NEWS. And the sponsors of thse events are so generous. Those wall hanging traout the youngsters are catching would make any angler proud.

Finally a reader sent me this prayer from Billy Graham which more than sums up what kind of world we live in today. It goes:

Heavenly Father, we come before you today to ask your forgiveness and to seek your direction and guidance. We know Your Word says, 'Woe to those who call evil good,' but that is exactly what we have done. We have lost our spiritual equilibrium and reversed our values. We have exploited the poor and called it the lottery. We have rewarded laziness and called it welfare. We have killed our unborn and called it choice. We have shot abortionists and called it justifiable. We have neglected to discipline our children and called it building self esteem. We have abused power and called it politics. We have coveted our neighbors possessions and called it ambition. We have polluted the air with profanity and pornography and called it freedom of expression. We have ridiculed the time-honored values of our forefathers and called it enlightenment. Search us, Oh God, and know our hearts today; cleanse us from every sin and Set us free. Amen!'