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Archived Story

‘70s political debate ends with trip to garbage dump

Published 10:58am Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

“What are you doing?”

“I’m taking a break.”

“From what? You haven’t done a thing all day.”

“It’s hard work doing what I don’t do.”

I’ve learned

1. Some people live in the past because gas is cheaper there.

2. A sneeze is always aimed achoo.

3. I once was able to tell the make, model, and year of a car at a glance. Now I can’t tell which way a car is headed.

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: a bucket list used to consist of fried chicken.

Voting on the way to the dump

It was back in the days before anyone could say, “That must be out by Walmart” and before anyone watched Antiques Roadshow. We took old stuff to the dump.

That’s what we were doing. I was helping my father spruce things up around the farm before winter. We talked about the upcoming presidential election of 1972. I knew for whom my father was voting. It would be Richard Nixon. There was no need to ask. My father couldn’t say “Democrats” without putting “those” in front.

He, however, felt the need to ask me for whom I was voting.

I tended to favor South Dakota candidates over those from California, so I said, “George McGovern.”

My father suggested that we haul my vote to the dump.

Cafe chronicles

My stomach pressed against my back. It was time to loosen the purse strings and have my clothes tightened. I needed food. Any cafe with a roof and a table is good, but sometimes I like to eat in a fancy restaurant. You know the kind, the places with napkins. Where all you can get for $10 is directions to the exit. The kind of place that offers diet meals like brief stew and where when the server says, “Your food will be coming right up,” you know how she means that.

I ordered a piece of cake with ice cream in a snazzy restaurant. It wasn’t the kind of eatery where I overhear things like, “I have a doctor’s appointment later today anyway, so I might as well eat here.” I would have rather had pie, but the pie had been too popular and sold out. The cake was good, but not as good as the cake my Grandma made. My mother told me that she could never make cake quite like my grandmother’s. I asked Mom for the recipe. She told it to me the same way her mother-in-law had told it to her. It was a pinch of this and a smoosh of that. I decided to make the cake while mother was gone visiting. I wanted to surprise her when she got home, but I surprised myself, too. The cake was awful. I must have pinched when I should have smooshed.

Watching baseball

I watched a junior high baseball game on a spring day following the winter that wasn’t. A man seated next to me had come to watch his son play and he brought a younger son with him. The younger boy was playing games on some sort of electronic device while trying to watch his brother play ball.

“That was a nice double play,” said the father.

“Why?” asked the boy without lifting his eyes from the video game.

“The second baseman gave the ball to the shortstop in the perfect place,” added the father.

“Why?” asked his son.

“Because that made it easy for the shortstop to throw the ball to first base,” said the dad, demonstrating much patience.

“Why?” asked the boy, showing remarkable consistency, as he continued to press game buttons.

It occurred to me, an innocent bystander, that the boy was multi-tasking while multi-asking.

Did you know?

A bag of seed corn has about 80,000 kernels.

According to a Gallup survey, Mississippi is the most religious of states. Vermont and New Hampshire are the least religious.

Nature notes

“I see yellow-rumped warblers much earlier than any other warbler. How do they survive in the cold without insects to eat?” This tiny bird, nicknamed “butter-butt” is omnivorous. People regularly report seeing yellow-rumps feeding at suet feeders and eating the seeds of last year’s flowers. The yellow-rumped warbler winters farther north than any other warbler. It has a slightly stouter bill and a digestive system unique amongst warblers that allows it to eat the waxy berries of such plants as bayberry, poison ivy, juniper, and cedar.

Meeting adjourned

A kind word is a warm blanket on a cold night.


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