A smile can go along way

Published 7:30 am Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club meeting

“The price of cigarettes is leaving me so broke that I can’t even afford to pay attention.”

“Have you ever tried to quit smoking?”

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“Of course, but only between cigarettes.”

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: The deer crossing signs aren’t working. They should be replaced with car crossing signs for the deer to see.

Café chronicles

Bob the Other walked into a coffee shop and asked the waitress, “How much is the coffee?”

“Coffee is three dollars,” the waitress replied.

“How much is a refill?” said Bob the Other.

“A refill is free,” said the waitress.

“I’ll take a refill.”

Three things I’ve learned

1. You know you live in a small town when you call the wrong number and the person answering the phone gives you the correct number.

2. All windows should open.

3. No one you meet looks like he or she sounded when you talked to him or her by phone.

The telephone book

The fellow told me that he didn’t have a phonebook I could use. He suggested I try the library. More and more people are eliminating landline telephones and going with only cell phones. People are able to find phone numbers via computers. Some cities no longer have the automatic delivery of telephone books. This will change life as we know it. A traffic violation will be the only way to get your name into print. A strong man will have to tear dictionaries in two — if he can find a dictionary. Short people will need to sit on pillows while driving. Policeman in movies will have to hit suspects with something other than a phonebook to not leave a mark. There will be fewer businesses named things like AAAA Pizza. There’s no sense being the first listing in a book no one will see.

The early bird has to eat the worms

He told me that he had four brothers and a sister. They lived on a dairy farm. The chores were early and endless. His father, a fair man, would say, “I put all of your names into a hat and I drew yours to clean the barn.”

Traveling mercies

On the way to the hotel, I had spotted a sign that read, “Watch your speed. We are.” I was in a hotel in downtown Indianapolis. I was headed to a meeting and had just gotten off the elevator when I spotted a man walking along with a cell phone held like a carrot-on-a-stick in front of him. His thumbs were flying as he texted furiously. Then he walked into a wall. He appeared to be unhurt. I didn’t laugh. But I wanted to.

Lightning bugs

As a boy, I would gather fireflies in a jar and use them as natural lighting for a few hours before releasing them back into the wild.

Kay Berg of Waseca told me that when she was a young girl, her family would place some fireflies in their car and then drive around with lights blinking inside the vehicle.

Fireflies light up to attract a mate. The light given off by fireflies during their abdominal flashes is called bioluminescence. It occurs when oxygen and the compound luciferin react in the presence of the enzyme, lucifereace. This creates light.

Nature notes

The Dog Days run from July 3 to August 11. The Dog Days are the hottest and muggiest time of the year. According to the DNR, the average annual precipitation (rainfall plus the water equivalent found in snowfall) in Minnesota ranges from nearly 18 inches in the far northwest to more than 32 inches in the southeast. According to the National Data Climatic Center, Iowa averages 34.05 inches of precipitation annually. We have received enough rain here at the Batt Cave during the Dog Days to make Noah nervous. It has rained so much that I began to suspect my neighbor Crandall was pouring water into my rain gauge. My Grandma gave good advice about wet weather, “The best thing to do when it is raining,” she said, “is to let it rain.”

Talking to the Holstein

I was talking to the Holstein the other day. The Holstein is a retired milk cow, so she has time to talk. I shared my astonishment of people who seem so sure of their political beliefs.

The Holstein chewed her cud thoughtfully and said, “I feel the same way. The certainty of ignorance is surpassed by the ignorance of certainty.”

Meeting adjourned

Mother Teresa said, “We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.”