Archived Story

Al Batt: You look like Al Batt … no offense

Published 10:33am Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Echoes From the Loafers’ Club Meeting:

“Has anyone ever told you that you are incredibly smart?”

“No, but thank you.”

“I didn’t think anyone had.”

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 back east, out west, down south and up north.

Cafe chronicles

I was having a bowl of lonesome chili. I’d just finished ringing the bells for the Salvation Army and was feeling pretty good about myself. Someone approached my table and asked, “Has anyone ever told you that you look like Al Batt?” There was a short pause before the person added, “No offense.”

It was a tie

Evelyn Waugh said, “The human mind is inspired enough when it comes to inventing horrors; it is when it tries to invent a Heaven that it shows itself cloddish.”

When I was a boy, forced to wear neckties and, shudder, bow ties, I thought Heaven was a place where no one wore ties.

I moved with the line in the manner that I knew all too well. I was at a visitation for a friend. A wake. Family and friends gathered. Every gathering with well wishes is a prayer.

I wore a necktie to the wake. It seemed right. I don’t mind wearing ties.

My son is coaching basketball and has the need to wear neckties. He asked if I could donate some to his cause. I did. Some were a bit colorful, bright and wild. They are the ties that blind.

Classy kids

I spoke to Mr. Domeier’s and Mrs. Rudau’s eighth grade English classes at NRHEG. The classrooms were filled with wonderful students. I appreciated a couple of quotes on the wall of Mark Domeier’s room. “Much to learn, you still have,” by Yoda and, “An error doesn’t become a mistake until you refuse to correct it,” by Orlando A. Battista.

While in the school, I enjoyed a swell meal of chicken fingers, tater tots, mandarin oranges and milk. The tater tots brought back memories of one of my favorite school lunches, the toothsome tater tot hotdish. I also had a taste for beanie weenies, hamburger gravy on mashed potatoes, and Hungarian goulash. Duane Swenson of rural Waseca told me that his favorite food in school was the pizza burger. I had deleted that file from my memory. They were good.

Memories of parallel parking

I limped into the building. I’d been on the d.l. after spraining my ankle before Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving had passed, so I told her that I limped because the gravy had settled. She told me that she was 92-ish. She was endearing, enduring and early for our meeting. She explained that by saying, “I am old.” She told me that she owned and drove a car until her 90th birthday. It was a Chevrolet. She was going to get a Buick, but she thought it might be seen as pretentious. She said she could still parallel park as long as there were no other cars anywhere near. She added that her late husband liked to sit on a bench and judge parallel parking.

I wish everyone good health

I listened to Steve Wilson, a retired forest ecologist from Tower, speak recently. He told the audience not to worry if they heard a sound like that of a ruffed grouse beating its wings. His cardiologist had told Steve that he had the world’s loudest artificial heart valve and the microphone tends to pick up the sound. He told us that we should only worry if we stopped hearing the sound.

I was ringing the bells for the Salvation Army when Ardy Madson approached. I enjoy ringing the bells, but Ardy’s presence brightened my day even more. Ardy said that her husband Milo had dropped her off by the front door and had gone to park the car. She said that seven years ago, she developed a health condition serious enough that Milo had begun to baby her. She added, “I haven’t told him that I got better.”


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