Archived Story

Cream soda is a faux bellyache’s greatest elixir

Published 10:25am Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Echoes from the Loafers’ Cub Meeting

“Do you have any hobbies?”

“I collect insects.”

“Where do you keep your collection?”

“On the windshield of my car.”

Driving by the Bruces

I have two wonderful neighbors — both named Bruce — who live across the road from each other. Whenever I pass their driveways, thoughts occur to me, such as: it is easier to put up a “Bump” sign than to fix the road.

I’ve learned

1. A sweet tooth should take advice from a wisdom tooth.

2. To never disturb the turbed.

3. Life has become so complex that not even teenagers have all the answers.

My neighbor

My neighbor Grunting Gus used to have many trees in his yard. After the tornado hit, he had only one tree and it belonged to another neighbor. Right after the tornado, Gus bought a lottery ticket. He figured the bad luck would bring good luck. Gus told me what he would do if he won $83 million in a lottery.

“First, I’d go to the State Fair and park as close to it as possible. Then I’d replace that headlight that burned out on my car a couple of years ago. Finally, I’d buy jumper cables for everyone in my family.”

Gus is the guy who deals with telemarketers in a unique way. When one phones, he tells the caller, “I’m Amish. I can’t talk to you on a telephone.”

I wasn’t really sick

I admit it. As a boy, I would occasionally feign a stomachache. I wasn’t a hypochondriac in the making. I faked tummy trouble in order to get pop. Some call such a beverage a soft drink or a soda, but to me it was pop. Mothers favored one of two kinds of pop to bring about relief for digestive disorders. My mother preferred ginger ale. It had magical powers meant to calm a stomach. It was good and well worth a faux bellyache.

Some things are meant to happen

My cousin Marilyn Benson of Algona was worried that a maple tree might fall on her car. The tree was dying and had suffered the ravages of storms and age. When a thunderstorm was predicted, Marilyn moved her car out of reach of the maple. The wind blew and a pine tree fell on Marilyn’s car.

Where is my hammer?

There was a hammer on the roof of the house of my brother Donald’s neighbor. It had been left there after some shingle repairs had been completed. When informed of the whereabouts of his hammer, the neighbor said that the hammer was there so he would know where it was.

Why we need nationalized health insurance for cats

The woman from Mantorville told me that she had kindly taken in a stray cat. She took it to a veterinarian who neutered and declawed the feline. He gave it shots, wormed it, and worked to cure the cat of other ailments. By the time the cat was back on its feet with at least seven of its nine lives still intact, the good Samaritan was presented with a $623 vet bill.

My father liked cats. He had many of them through the years. That said, I do know what he would have called a cat with a $623 vet bill. A dead cat.

Dad knew that he could get countless free cats for the dairy barn for $623.

A plethora of people

Charlie Johnson of Wells told me that more than 200,000 people are added to the world’s population each day. As I drove from Des Moines to St. Cloud, I concluded that at least 200,000 drivers had been added to the highways that day alone.

Meeting adjourned

A kind word scatters a hundred slights.

Hartland resident Al Batt’s column

appears every Tuesday.

Nature notes

Our summers are filled with disgruntled robins noisily expressing irritable fowl syndrome. The robin is the quintessential early bird. Its “Merrily, verily, see?” song is summer’s background music. It sings to command territory and to entice a mate. The robin’s voice is comforting like wind chimes in a breeze. Each summer morning brings the song of the robin—a sunlight of sound. Robins typically have two broods a year, with three being uncommon. If a robin was successful in raising young in a nest, she’ll sometimes build a new floor for that nest to raise another brood or may build a nest on top of one in a perfect location. Robins don’t reuse a year-old nest. Old nests become frail, parasite eggs or larvae may overwinter in a nest and attack nestlings, and robins have an instinct to build a new nest each year. About 25% of hatched robins survive a year.


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