Archived Story

Snow storm predictions cause panic purchases

Published 10:18am Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting:

“I won a vacation package on a raffle. Five nights in Idaho.”

“Five nights. No days?”

“Nope, just nights.”

“What will you do during the day?”

“Anything I want, as long as I don’t do it in Idaho.”

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: it’s a blizzard if the only vehicles I see go by are a snowplow and a tow truck.

I’ve learned:

New car shows are a preview of used car lots.

The price of a hat isn’t a measure of the brain.

It’s OK to be in a rut if you enjoy being there.

The schadenfreude season

I returned the call to his landline.

He answered. Then there was racket. A din. A tumult.

The odd sounds ended when he came back on the line and said, “I dropped the phone.”

He wouldn’t have had to tell me.

He described the winter storm at his New Hampshire home. He had Minnesota in his backyard.

I thought about the old song by the Turtles that contained the line, “So happy together. How is the weather?”

We always get more winter than we figured on, even during mild years. Winter is gum on the bottom of a shoe. Every year, people ask, “Can you believe this weather?”

We answer, “Yes!”

We get so much ice, that a polar bear rented the old Peterson house. Storm predictions induce panic buying of toilet paper and bread. Some folks flee south until it blows over.

Because of all the winter we get, we might not feel as sympathetic as we should when winter storms hit elsewhere. There is a German word “schadenfreude” (shädn-froid) that means a pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.

Funeral potatoes

A friend told me that he had a high school reunion coming up. There is a shadow on the day. He graduated from a school that no longer exists. We miss the old schools with the study halls that were experiments in sleep-learning.

In “The Big Yellow Taxi,” Joni Mitchell sang, “Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got, till it’s gone, they paved paradise, and put up a parking lot.”

I think of that song when attending funerals. I should have visited the deceased more. Been nicer.

The meal after the funeral helps. When I was a boy, I hoped it would be “funeral potatoes”— scalloped potatoes and ham. It’s oddly comforting to listen to a friend say, while ingesting a fourth helping of funeral potatoes, “I like funerals. There is one less person to judge me.”

Mule Lake memories

I grew up on the shores of Mule Lake. You might be from Mule Lake if you can pickle that. You’ve been used as a soccer ball by a cow. You’ve experienced enough blizzards to hold you. You know it will always rain because no one in your family has ever died of thirst. You know it’s possible to drive without talking on a cellphone. You have had a farmer sunburn.

Did you know?

Each dashed line on the highway measures 10 feet and the empty spaces between the lines measure 30 feet. Every time a car passes a line, the car has traveled 40 feet. At 55 mph, a car is traveling 80.66 feet per second, which means that two white strips slip by every second.

Speeding tickets in Finland are calculated according to the driver’s income.

Nature notes

“Why are all the birds I see perched on utility wires facing the same direction?” Birds fly and land into the wind. This provides them with maximum lift and control in flight. Birds find it easier taking off and landing when facing the wind. Facing another direction would ruffle their feathers. A streamlined profile stabilizes them. Facing the same direction makes it easier to communicate. If the wind dies, the birds might face different directions.

Meeting adjourned

Kindness is like soap. It does no good unless it’s used.

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