Archived Story

BB gun claimed many lights, no eyeballs

Published 9:13am Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

“Who’s playing?”

“I don’t know.”

“What’s the score?”

“I have no idea.”

“Why watch the game?”

“I need something to watch until the next game starts.”

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: where does the road paved with bad intentions go?

I’ve learned

1. To take the advice of the hairs on my arms.

2. I like being blessed when I sneeze. What else can a man do and have strangers bless him?

3. A little is a lot when it’s all you’ve got.

Christmas in the rearview

Jean Shepherd’s wonderful book that became a swell movie titled, “A Christmas Story,” told the tale of a young boy obsessed with getting “an official Red Ryder, carbine action, 200-shot, range model air rifle, with a compass in the stock.” Red Ryder was a cowboy from a comic strip that made it big. Everyone told 10-year old Ralphie that he would put an eye out. My mother told me the same thing. I did get an air rifle. My father bought it for me at Einar’s Hardware. It held at least 200 BBs, and I didn’t put a single eye out. I couldn’t say the same for light bulbs. I tried to see how close I could come to the bulbs in the barn without hitting one. I became good at replacing light bulbs. That’s why mothers worry.

Learning lefse

Margarit Moe of Roseville was born in Germany. She met her husband, Harold, there. When she moved with her new husband to Minnesota, she tried hard to fit into a family of Norwegian ancestry. She got off to a rocky start. When she was served lefse, she put mustard on it. Fortunately, she and Harold were already married.

Frost plugs

George Lincoln of Frost and I talked of many things. We talked of what the residents of Frost are called. We dismissed “Frosties,” no matter how good it sounds. George suggested “Frostbites” as an appropriate name in the winter. We talked of old cars. We didn’t lament their passing. George told of being a young fellow who needed to awake every couple of hours in order to go outside and start his car so that he could make it to work. We discussed the need for having a device such as an engine block heater or frost plug heater plugged into an electrical outlet during frigid weather. I remember such gadgets being regular Christmas gifts. Most cars had electric plugs hanging from their grill. I’ve seen a plethora of plugs hanging from cars in Fairbanks, Alaska. Some parking lots there offer electrical outlets. The first car I owned couldn’t be driven into a wind. When I saw a speed limit sign indicating 55 miles per hour, I’d tell everyone in the car, “Hold on, I’m going to try to reach it.”


Gene Leif of Austin tells me of his friends. The husband is of Norwegian ancestry and the wife is from Mexico. They eat lutefisk with salsa.

Clever cat

I watched the cat sleep. It sleeps 23 hours a day because it’s sleeping for 9 lives. It was the middle of the night and the world was quiet. Suddenly, the cat’s head pops up. Its eyes were wide and the feline had that “Oh, no!” look. I rose from my chair and looked out the window to see if I could pick something out of the darkness that the cat’s keen ears had detected. I saw nothing. I returned to my book to find the cat asleep in my chair.


The Federal Highway Administration’s (FHWA’s) mission is to improve road safety. One-quarter of all travel occurs at night, but about half the traffic fatalities occur during nighttime hours. To address this, the FHWA adopted traffic sign retroreflectivity requirements. Nighttime visibility of traffic control devices is becoming increasingly important as our population ages. Declining vision and slowed reaction times of older drivers require signs easier to see and read at night.

I drove home on a rainy, foggy night darker than the inside of a pants pocket. I saw the signs with no difficulty. What needs to be made more visible are the lines on the highway.

Nature notes

Where might we see ravens? Common ravens are found primarily in the boreal zones of northern Minnesota. Ravens have shaggy throats, heavy bills, wedge-shaped tails, and guttural calls. Crows have slim throats, slim bills, square-shaped tails, and higher-pitched calls.

Meeting adjourned

“Slow down, simplify and be kind.” — Naomi Judd

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