Archived Story

Halloween miscalculation can leave you in the dark

Published 11:02am Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

“My cousin is crazy. He’s so skinny – he stands 5-feet tall and weighs 250 pounds.”

“How can he be skinny when he is only 5 foot tall and weighs 250 pounds?”

“I told you he was crazy.”

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: People like crowds. The bigger the crowd, the more people there are who show up.

I’ve learned

1. A vacuum cleaner cord is never long enough.

2. Life may throw you but it doesn’t determine how you feel after you hit the ground.

3. To pick up discarded pennies. It’s good exercise.

A tall drink of water

“How old are you, if you don’t mind me asking?” said the woman in a store.

I told her. I told her that I was a year younger than I really was. I didn’t mean to. For just a moment, I thought that was how old I was. I guess I was surprised when she didn’t ask me how tall I was.

When you are tall, people tend to tell you that you are tall. Complete strangers inform me of my tallness as if I were unaware of it. I wonder if that is true of short people. Do folks let them know how short they are? It has been a long time since I was short. I am tall enough that if I fall over, I’m halfway home. Because I am vertically enhanced, I am considering getting a tattoo of a short person.

I was in the store to buy replacement blades for my razor. Apparently, they are made of gold. I paid approximately nothing for my razor. Cheap razor. Expensive blades. As I’ve heard so often, that is where they get you.

The store was large enough that they had camping supplies for those who became lost in the store. I heard a voice, “Marco.” Another replied, “Polo.” Those two words were exchanged a good number of times by an extended family maintaining contact while shopping. I walked by a displayed shoe that caught my eye. I asked a kind and helpful employee if they had that particular model in a size 13. He went somewhere to check. He came back shortly and told me, “No 13s, but I do have it in a size 10.”

That information was as useful as a pocket on the back of my shirt.


I was sitting at the breakfast table eating a piece of toast covered in peanut butter – smooth. I was wearing my “Yeah, I know” T-shirt. I had a big day ahead of me. Halloween was past. I needed to replace the fake cobwebs with real ones.

I recalled another Halloween. We were new to the marriage game. We’d grown up on farms and gone to college in cities. As newlyweds, we moved to New Richland. Halloween was coming and we quizzed the neighbors as to how many trick-or-treaters to expect. We bought candy accordingly. Then we bought more candy because we didn’t want to be one of those houses kids went to and left with less candy than they had come with. On Halloween, the children started showing up at our door. They didn’t stop. We ran out of candy and gave out cookies, apples, raisins, and cheese. We had to turn off the lights and hide silently in the darkness.

Mismatched socks

I presented a class at the Science & Nature Conference hosted by Gustavus Adolphus College. A young woman showed me that she was wearing socks that did not match. She said that was in style today. I had no idea that I was a trendsetter. I’ve been unable to tell black socks from navy blue socks for years.

In gratitude

My thanks to those who have commented on my columns in Bird Watcher’s Digest (BWD). I appreciate hearing from you and it is an honor to write for that fine magazine. BWD does much for birds and nature.

Nature notes

Despite emails to the contrary, eagles do not mate in flight. A bald eagle nest in Florida was 9.5 feet across, 20 feet high, and weighed 2 to 3 tons. There was once a bounty on bald eagles in Alaska – up to $2 was paid for a pair of talons and over 128,000 bald eagles were killed for payment.

Meeting adjourned

If you don’t forgive, you allow someone to live rent-free in your head. Be kind to yourself and forgive others.

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