Archived Story

Even baseball greats can’t always please everyone

Published 10:44am Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting:

“I wrote a joke.”

“OK, let’s hear it?”

“Knock, knock.”

“Who’s there?”

“I don’t know. I haven’t written the ending yet.”

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: sliced bread is the greatest thing since unsliced bread.

I’ve learned

1. Whenever someone says, “Don’t take this the wrong way,” there is only one way to take it.

2. Whenever anyone asks you, “May I be perfectly honest with you?” answer, “No.”

3. Dandelions are like TV celebrities — beautiful from a distance.

Cell phone chronicles

I was minding someone else’s business. It was impossible not to. People were loud-talking into their cellphones. The cell signal was not always a good one. I know because a number of smartphone owners were overheard saying, “Stupid phone!”

Thrilling days of yesteryear

I loved riding a bicycle when I was a boy. It was a bad bike, but it had two wheels and handlebars — actually, it had no handlebars. It had a truck steering wheel instead. The bicycle had been on sale in a pile of junk at a neighbor’s place. Nobody teased me much about having a steering wheel. However, if I’d had worn a helmet as many bikers do today, that helmet would have become a target for every rock thrower.

Booing Harmon

Everyone calls my neighbor Misses. That’s not his real name. He got the nickname because of his lack of prowess in hitting a baseball.

Misses used to be in the corporate world. He held meetings. He realized that the only things most of his employees wanted out of a meeting were the sweet rolls, coffee, and to know how long the meeting was going to last. It got him down, but corporate required that he hold meetings.

One Saturday, he went to the old Met Stadium to see the Minnesota Twins play. In the bottom of the ninth, with the Twins trailing by a run, Harmon Killebrew came to bat with two out and two runners on base. Harmon was a hero. He was the Paul Bunyan of baseball. This time, Harmon struck out. There were scattered boos. Some people booed Harmon Killebrew.

Misses decided that the few people who would boo Killebrew were the same kind of people who disliked his meetings. Even Harmon Killebrew couldn’t please everyone.

She’s hip

Elsa Thompson of Marietta, Ohio got a new hip. That’s a common refrain. We hear often that someone “got a new hip.” We get new hips as previous generations got false teeth. I was glad to hear that Elsa was doing well and I asked her son, Bill, when she had had the procedure. Bill said that it hadn’t been long because his mother still had that new hip smell.

A sign of the times

I saw an old metal chair set alongside a road in North Dakota. Nearby was a hand painted sign reading, “Rest area.”

I remember mother

Stephen Ingraham of Kennebunk, Maine told me that a skunk had found entry to the basement of his parents’ old house and had sought shelter in the clothes dryer. Stephen’s mother wasn’t one to waste time. She shot the skunk with a .22 rifle. She put one hole in the skunk and another in the back of the clothes dryer. She also put a stink in the family’s laundry for weeks.

The telephone rang and Betty answered

Betty Fulton of Alden said that she received a call from a charity looking for people to donate clothing to starving women. Betty told the caller that any woman who could fit into Betty’s clothing was not starving.

The no-hitter

Jeff Paulson of Hartland was talking about his baseball career. He said that he used to be a starting pitcher. He added, “Of course, that was in T-ball.” Jeff’s that rare pitcher who could honestly claim that he never allowed a single hit in all the games he pitched. Jeff’s record makes Justin Verlander look like a mere beginner.

Nature notes

“Are all birds protected by law even if they are not an endangered species?” Yes. The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 protects all native birds in the U.S. Some birds are subject to hunting seasons, but only non-native birds such as starlings, rock pigeons, and house sparrows receive no protection.

“Can birds choke on peanut butter?” There is no documented evidence of that happening.

Meeting adjourned

I was driving down I-94 in North Dakota when I spotted a large billboard that had a two-word message, “Be kind.”

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