Archived Story

The Dark Ages with no Netflix

Published 10:41am Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

“Great sermon on Sunday, Pastor.”

“Thank you.”

“Everything you said applied to someone I know.”

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: the traffic light is always greener in the other lane.

I’ve learned

1. Men don’t like to ask directions to places they don’t want to go.

2. You know you are getting older if you hurt yourself while sleeping.

3. Nothing finds a lost Lego faster than a bare foot.

Foggy days and nights

The old saying goes, “A winter’s fog will freeze a dog.” I was on the road, driving slowly. The fog was wicked thick. Taillights appeared suddenly out of nowhere in the fog ahead of my headlights. I met a car with its lights off. Yikes! A new saying came to me. “A car without lights in the fog will freeze other drivers.”

Winter worries

A visitor was amazed that I didn’t subscribe to Netflix. He accused me of living in the Dark Ages. I was sorry I’d let down the drawbridge that allowed him to cross the moat. He’s a guy who has no problem watching movies on his cell phone. He is attracted to small, shiny, mental objects. We talked about the weather. We had to talk about it. We live where there is weather. The winter had been gentle, almost saintly. He worried aloud, “We’ll pay for the nice weather.”

“I remember when we used to have winter,” said my neighbor Crandall, with a cackle showing no evidence of worry about angering the winter gods.

A good number of folks from my neck of the woods miss winter from a distance. They aren’t where they are from. They winter in Texas, Florida, Arizona, or California. So many snowbirds left this season that winter decided to take the year off.

We haven’t had a winter to regale others with chilling stories. You know the kind. “The flames in the fireplace froze, but I didn’t know it. I was at the top of the windmill, trying to shovel snow off the roof of the barn. It was difficult because icicles were hanging from my eyelids.”

Winter is like all other seasons. We should be pleased with what we get.

The café chronicles

It was one of those eateries that offered two choices of salad dressing — ranch or none. There were four calendars on the wall. That’s typically a good sign. William Least Heat-Moon, in his book Blue Highways, wrote of an infallible way to find honest food at just prices based upon the number of calendars on a café wall. He calculated that a four-calendar café was only one away from topping the scale. This one was a place to go to feel slothful. People waited on me and it had linoleum floors. There was a dusty TV near the kitchen. A customer seated at the counter, with enough food in front of him that he would have to take vacation time to finish the meal, shouted warnings to the politicians appearing on the screen. He didn’t realize that the people on TV couldn’t hear him.

Nature notes

Coyotes are opportunistic and eat what is available. Small mammals such as mice, voles, shrews, rabbits, squirrels, and hares are preferred foods. Carrion, insects, fruits, berries, birds, frogs, snakes, plants, and seeds are on the menu. Road killed and crippled deer are sources of food as are fawns. Coyotes are attracted to garbage, garden vegetables, and pet food. They will prey on unattended cats and small dogs. Some coyotes kill small livestock, such as sheep, goats, calves, and poultry. Larger animals are usually consumed as carrion. Coyotes can live six to eight years in the wild–most less than two years. Natural mortality includes disease, predation, and starvation. Hunting, trapping, and vehicle collisions are common causes of coyote death. Approximately 50-70 percent of coyotes do not reach adulthood. Annual adult mortality averages 30-50 percent. Males may roam territories as large as 36 square miles. Females generally stay within a six square mile area. Although persecuted endlessly, coyotes are not nearly the threat to humans as deer are.

Talking to the Holstein

I was talking to the Holstein the other day. The Holstein is a retired milk cow, so she has time to talk. I asked her how she liked listening to the candidates wishing to be president.

The Holstein chewed her cud thoughtfully and said, “The problem with politicians is that they exaggerate ten times out of every nine.”

Meeting adjourned

If you want to be happy, be kind.

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