Archived Story

Al Batt: A blizzard in honor of my birth

Published 10:15am Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Echoes From the Loafers’ Club Meeting:

“You are one of the hardest-working men I know.”

“I wish I could say the same thing about you.”

“Well, you could if you were as big a liar as I am.”

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: most people are self-taut.

Winter weary or filled with the wonder of winter

I was driving. My sister, Georgianna, whom I tend to call Georgie, was riding shotgun on a cold, blustery day. I pointed out the plethora of birds that flew up from the graveled roadsides at the approach of my car.

I identified snow buntings, Lapland longspurs, horned larks, dark-eyed juncos, and American tree sparrows.

Georgie didn’t seem as excited about seeing the birds as I was. It wasn’t because she doesn’t like birds.

Her lack of enthusiasm was because she doesn’t like winter.

She blames that on her birth month. She was born in June. By the time cold temperatures arrived, she was used to being warm.

It makes sense, I guess. I like winter.

I was born in March. A blizzard was held in honor of my arrival.

I thought that was how things would be.

Christmas redux

I was doing some Christmas shopping. I considered some chocolate-covered cherry cordials. They are disgustingly sweet candies that my father favored. I found the candy aisle easily. I couldn’t miss it. It was everywhere. I found the candy of my father’s dreams. A couple of things had changed since I last encountered them with buying on my mind. These candies were called “cordial cherries.” I guess they were friendly fruit. The other change was that the product was now available in three varieties — dark chocolate, milk chocolate, and French vanilla. I didn’t have a three-sided coin to flip. Faced with three choices, I chose none.

Mr. Goodtape

My glove box refused to stay shut. That’s no problem for a Mr. Goodwrench wannabe like me. I duct-taped it close. With duct tape, all things are possible.

I’ve been married for a long time. I’ve used up most of my good ideas for gifts for my bride. Worthy presents are still obtainable, but difficult to find.

I gave my wife a classic film for her birthday. It was a package of 24 exposures of 200 speed Kodak Elite Chrome film for color slides that promised “Vibrant, pure colors with natural skin tones.” It had a best used by date of October 2001. I’d found it behind shelved books at home. She wasn’t surprised. I should have given her duct tape.

Casino chronicles

I told stories on stage at a large casino. I suppose there are small casinos, but I don’t think I’ve ever been in one.

I visited with some of those in attendance. One, Jan Leach of Garrison, walked to her hotel room to retrieve something she’d forgotten. Not only had she forgotten something in her room, she’d forgotten how big the facility was. When she returned, she said, “The next time I go back to my room, I’m staying here.”

A life lived well

I attended the funeral of a friend, Rod Searle, of Waseca. The clergyman read one of Rod’s favorite poems, one written by William Cullen Bryant and titled, “Thanatopsis.” “So live, that when thy summons comes to join The innumerable caravan which moves To that mysterious realm, where each shall take His chamber in the silent halls of death, Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night, Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.”

Rod abided by that.

Customer comments

Ric McArthur of Morpeth, Ontario wrote, “I’m retired. Mondays are just early Saturdays.”


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