Archived Story

Detour means enjoy the scenery

Published 11:08am Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Echoes From the Loafers’ Club:

“My teacher told us that everything has a purpose.”

“What do we get from skunks?”

“As far away as possible.”

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: “detour” means, “enjoy the scenery.”

I’ve learned

Cellphones should charge as we walk.

If you can’t say anything nice about someone, mumble.

No garden has only flowers,

Hartland phone booth

The phone booth in Hartland was important. Big business deals and forbidden meetings were arranged without family members overhearing. When I was a boy, I called the phone booth the “statue.” That was because when locals called someone on it, they’d say, “Hello. Statue?”

We had only one telephone at home, a giant contraption featuring a rotary dial, which filled a living room wall. Privacy wasn’t a given. Family members were forced to listen to one side of a conversation just as anyone within hearing of a cellphone user is forced to today. If I talked too long on our home phone, my mother handed me a couple of saltine crackers. It’s hard to talk when eating those crackers. When the crackers were passed out, it was time to shut up and hang up.

Those thrilling days of yesteryear

My uncle said, “The Beatles,” and shook his head forlornly.

I’m sure he’d have liked to have said more about the Fab Four, but he was in mixed company. For you see, my uncle was a tonsorial artist, a barber.

“There are only three times in a woman’s life when she gets her name in the newspaper,” said a woman, waiting for a teenage son to have his locks shorn. “Once when she is born, once when she gets married, and once when she dies. And she can read only one of them.”

My neighbor

Old Man McGinty believes that failing memory is nature’s way of making sure that we get enough exercise as we age. He leaves the house. Then walks back in to get something he’d forgotten. He repeats this several times before actually leaving.

He filled his car with gas. The pump told him to insert his credit card and then remove it quickly. He tried a few times without success. The screen on the gas pump flashed, “Please pay inside. You are old.” I asked Old Man McGinty, the youngest Old Man McGinty ever, if he wanted to join me at a function on a Saturday six months in the future. He said that he was busy that day. He hadn’t consulted a calendar, so I asked him what he had going on that day.

“A funeral,” he replied.

“A funeral?” I asked, “How can you know that so far in advance?”

“Simple,” said Old Man McGinty, “When you’re my age, you attend a funeral every Saturday.”

Cafe chronicles

The sign said, “Please do not feed the employees.”

Another claimed that the mashed potatoes came with a lifetime guarantee.

I ordered a dish carrying the restaurant owner’s name. I figured if he was willing to put his name on it, it must be good.

A tablemate complained about everything. He’s a moan about town. It doesn’t do much good to complain. People either don’t care to hear your grievances or they’re elated that you have complaints. Another diner had blood pressure medication in one hand and a saltshaker in the other. He eats one egg a week and plans for days as to how he’d have it prepared. He has a dog that shares his first name. The dog had been named before he obtained it. However, he’d never forgotten its name even once.

My wife and I ate at the Village Inn, the local home of fine dining. We were joined by friends, Rod and Ruth Searle of Waseca, in enjoying a delicious repast. Ruth’s sister from Fairfax, Virginia, joined us. There was work being done on the water lines in the city, so the friendly waitress informed us that the water was going to be turned off and if anyone needed to use the restroom, they’d better hurry. Our new friend from Virginia hustled to the restroom. As she rushed past Larry Nelson, owner of L & D Ag, he said, “Welcome to Hartland.”

Nature notes

A yellow jacket nest can be hidden inside a dense bush, alongside a stump, buried in the ground with only a small, hard-to-see entrance hole, or located inside a wall or ceiling void of a building. These wasps commonly build nests in rodent burrows.

Meeting adjourned

When it comes to being kind, avoid moderation.


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