Archived Story

Softball games a nervous breakdown split by innings

Published 9:27am Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

“We missed you at church on Sunday.”

“Really?”

“When we count our blessings, missing you is one of them.”

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: Anyone who says an onion is the only vegetable that can make you cry has never been hit in the face with a turnip.

I’ve learned

1. The easiest way to put my best foot forward is by keeping it out of my mouth.

2. That beds are more comfortable in the morning than at night.

3. The days of proper grammar is gone.

The news from Hartland

The local telephone book offers only one number — directory assistance.

Bonnie and Clod’s Grocery Store offers six checkout lanes — only one open during the busiest times.

Taxidermist, Noah Zark, starts a tax preparation service because, as Noah said, “Why not?”

My neighbor

My neighbor 7 1/8 (his mother picked his name out of a hat) and I watched a beanbag toss tournament. I suspect most people are familiar with the game. Players take turns throwing beanbags underhanded at a raised platform with a hole in the far end. Points are scored by tossing the bag into the hole or onto the platform.

We hadn’t watched long before 7 1/8 told me that his great-great grandfather had invented the game. His ancestors caught ground squirrels, held them by their tails, and attempted to toss the rodents into their burrows. You made your own entertainment in those days.

7 1/8, whose hobby is pushing doors that should be pulled, showed me a book he’d just finished. The book was supposed to help him quit smoking. He’s been able to quit on his own many times between cigarettes, but thought he’d ask a book for help. The book was on self-hypnotism. He hated the first few chapters, but ended up loving the book.

Put me in coach

I sat on bleachers hard enough to cut diamonds and watched a granddaughter pitch softball. She threw incredibly hard for one so small. I played softball. It was easier playing than watching. I didn’t have time to worry while I played. A softball game has become a nervous breakdown divided into innings.

A batter reached first on an error, but the pitcher remained calm and struck out the next three batters.

I remembered showing her a pillbug in a basement a few years ago. Pillbugs have seven pairs of legs, but aren’t insects. They’re kin to shrimp, lobsters, and crayfish. The grayish 3/8-inch long crustaceans are terrestrial isopods. Pillbugs live in moist environments and occasionally enter buildings. They don’t bite, sting, or transmit disease. They don’t infest food, clothing, or wood. The pillbug rolls into an armored ball like an armadillo when disturbed. It conglobulates, which means it gathers into a small round mass. This behavior earned it the name “roly-poly.” Sowbugs are similar but lack this capability.

I showed my granddaughter that pillbug rolled into a ball. She was as amazed by its existence as I continue to be.

As I watched her come to bat and rap out a single, I realized that while I love her as she is now, I couldn’t help but miss her as she was.

Those thrilling days of yesteryear

I listened to a GPS tell me where to turn. I recalled trying to find locations via directions scratched on the back of an envelope or by using a small map from a phone book. At least when I became lost in those days, I had an excuse.

School memories

It was back when ten cents was a lot of money. My how dimes have changed. I was preparing to enter the seventh grade. I was about to rest my brain at a new school. I didn’t know what to expect, but there were plenty of others willing to inform or misinform me. An older boy told me that there was only one thing that I shouldn’t miss at my new school. I asked what that was. He answered, “The bus home.”

Customer comments

Nancy Busse of Mankato remembers one winter when her mother (Lorraine Babcock of New Richland) flooded the backyard to make a skating rink for her children. Part of the flooded area had dead weeds standing in it. The weeds were tall enough to protrude above the frozen water. That was no problem for Nancy’s mom. She used a lawn mower to cut the tops off the weeds.

Meeting adjourned

Strive to be the nicest one in a disagreement. Be kind.


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