Archived Story

Fireflies were rural equivalent to Disneyland

Published 10:15am Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting:

“I have a stomachache.”

“Have you taken anything for it?”

“Yeah, a couple of bowls of chili, a half dozen doughnuts, and some fried chicken with gravy, but it didn’t help.”

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: Pickup trucks are short in front and long in back. They are the mullets of automobiles.

I’ve learned

A great day is one in which it rains on the garden, but not on the lawn.

The news from Hartland

Going for the Dough Bakery offers that new carb smell.

Bill Jerome Home Lumberyard stacks its doors outside, in the great outdoors.

Man of conviction gets 10 years.

Ask Al

“How can I save money?” Tie one shoestring lengthwise across your closed wallet. Tie another crosswise. When you’re buying something, you’ll need to untie both shoestrings. This will give you time to consider whether the purchase is necessary or wise.

“What’s the best thing to put in a pie?” Teeth.

A driveway of fireflies

A reader from Willmar phoned before stopping by for a visit. He’d never been here before. He said, “I thought you’d have a longer driveway.”

So did I. I grew up with a longer driveway that was lined with fireflies saying, “We light up the night sky.” Fireflies were the closest things to Disneyland in my life. I considered lassoing one. I used a hand-cranked device to turn baling twine into rope. I didn’t learn any tricks with ropes. They must be taut. I didn’t sell the ropes. I learned to tie knots with them. It was a knot-for-profit organization. My specialty was the Hartland knot. It’s never the same twice.

A summer fall

A tree fell on Steve Overgaard of Albert Lea. You know you’re having a bad day when a tree falls on you. Steve emerged from the incident with a dislocated shoulder and broken ribs. When Steve tells people about his encounter with the tree, people tell him how lucky he is. Steve said that he doesn’t feel that lucky. If he’d been lucky, the tree would have missed him.

Blue Cross didn’t cover the vet’s visit

Mary Hanke, a veterinarian in Stacyville, told me of a vet who tried to frighten a downed cow into standing up by driving at it with his pickup truck while honking the horn. It didn’t work. He ran over the bovine. The only way that farmer was getting his cow back was if the veterinarian had been a taxidermist, too. The same man, when treating a sick dog, would ask the canine’s owner, “Do you want a dog or do you want that dog?”

I remember an early morning when a vet was examining one of our cows. I’d been feigning a sore throat in the hopes of staying home from school. After the vet finished his work, my father said to him, “The boy has been complaining of a sore throat. Take a look at him.”

I went to school.

Cafe chronicles

The table sat at a jaunty angle. The waitress brought a menu and the details of her mother’s gallbladder surgery. I ordered. The food was first rate. Do you remember when you went to that fancy slophouse and ordered something you couldn’t pronounce and could barely afford? You know it’s a fancy slophouse if you have to use a knife and fork to chew gum. Well, the grub in that small-town cafe tasted just like you’d hoped that fancy slophouse food would.

Did you know?

A tomato is a fruit eaten as a vegetable and rhubarb is a vegetable eaten as a fruit. Grandma stored produce by home canning. She said, “We eat what we can and what we can’t, we can.”


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