Archived Story

Sweater vests keep you single

Published 10:39am Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

“You order pancakes every morning but you never eat them.”

“My saintly mother made me pancakes for breakfast every day.”

“And our pancakes aren’t as good as your mother’s?”

“I don’t know. I never ate hers either.

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: whenever a person dies, it’s as if a library burned down

I’ve learned

1. Ignorance is bliss unless you are aware of it.

2. The sun wins every staring contest.

3. I like finding things that I’m not looking for

My neighbor

Bushelhead put in his 40th crop this year. He has learned that the secret to success in farming is to get a lot done between equipment breakdowns. The best crop he raises is rocks. The glaciers left a lot of them in his fields and a new crop emerges each year. New rocks are only a stone’s throw away. Where did the glaciers go? They went to get more rocks.

There are three kinds of rocks —pickers, sliders, and painters. Pickers are the ones you pick up and toss into the loader. Sliders are bigger and need to be slid to a point where the loader could lift them. A painter is one that is too big to move. You paint it brightly so you will be able to see it while combining. Remember, families that pick together, stick together.

The café chronicles

It was the kind of place where the waitress referred to a breakfast order as “scrambled cackles and oinks in strips.” It was the kind of place where when you ordered meatloaf and a kind word, the waitress brought the meatloaf and offered kind words, “Don’t eat the meatloaf.”

“What is the special?” I asked.

“It’s what is left over from last week.”

“You’re kidding.”

“Yes,” said the waitress, “But only the part about it being special.

The anniversary

I had wanted her to take my name, but she was adamant that she remain a Gail and not become an Al. I’d have been married earlier, but I insisted on wearing sweater vests. A life vest keeps you from drowning. A bulletproof vest keeps you from being shot. A sweater vest keeps you from dating. It didn’t seem that long ago when my wife and I were on our first date. She was as pretty as a picture as she got into my car. The car was so rusty, she needed a tetanus shot after getting into it.

“Can you drive with one hand?” my passenger asked.

“Yes,” I replied, my mind filled with thoughts of snuggling.

“Good,” she said. “Then wipe your nose.”

We married in September and hadn’t been hitched long when we became owners of a nine-passenger sedan. One drove while eight others pushed. One day, my lovely bride asked, “Do you know what the day after tomorrow is?”

It was September. I had forgotten our anniversary. I was thankful that my wife had fired a warning shot. Eight friends pushed my car and me to a jewelry store where I bought more necklace than I could afford. Two days later, I gave the gift to my wife, saying, “I’ll bet you thought I’d forgotten.”

My wife said it was the best Labor Day of her life

A boy remembers

The bases were loaded. Two outs in the bottom of the last inning and we trailed by two runs. I was at bat. The count was full. The pitcher was good and fast. He threw with a grunt and a snarl. I swung hard in case I hit it. I hammered the ball harder than I had ever hit one. The crowd went wild. I ran like the wind. I could see my father seated along the first baseline. He looked proud. I’ll never forget what the umpire said as I crossed first base.

“You’re out!

Sign of the times

Roadwork next 39 years

Is that fair?

I enjoy watching people at a fair. They are exceedingly more interesting than reality TV. The Iowa State Fair offered deep-fried butter on-a-stick

Meeting adjourned

There is no joy without kindness

Nature notes

A woolly bear caterpillar is a reliable sign that the seasons are changing. It eats dandelions in the spring and becomes an Isabella moth, a rather nondescript insect. This time of the year, we see woolly worms scurrying across roads. Folklore says that the blacker the woolly bear, the more severe the coming winter will be. The truth is that the woolly bear’s rusty band widens with age.

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