Kettles may provide some rules to live by

Published 11:00 am Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting:

“When cows are standing, it means no rain for the next 24 hours. When they’re lying down, it means it’s going to rain.”

“I saw a herd where half were standing and half were lying down. What does that mean?”

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“That means that half of them are wrong.”

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 worst place to economize is by buying cheap toilet paper.

It should be deep-fried on-a-stick.

My brother-in-law, Doug Bushlack of New Richland, told me that he liked cannibal sandwiches. I didn’t feel in danger, but it was coincidental that I had just talked to two people in Owatonna who had mentioned their fondness for the same sandwich. This sandwich consists of raw ground sirloin served on rye bread and topped with a thin-sliced raw onion. I had steak tartare, raw ground beef served with onion and raw egg — once. I base decisions on the hair on my arms. If the thought of doing something makes the hair on my arms rise, I don’t do it. The thought of eating a cannibal sandwich or another steak tartare makes my arm hairs stand at attention.

I’ve learned

1. Fools rush in and get the best seats.

2. If you’re going cross-country skiing, start with a small country.

3. Many Civil War battles were fought in national parks.

Ringing the bells

I ring the bells for the Salvation Army each year. I ring at a number of locations. I put money in each time I ring and into the kettles of other ringers I encounter. I put more into the kettles of others than into my own kettle. That may be a good guide to live by.


“We wish you a merry Christmas. We wish you a merry Christmas. We wish you a merry Christmas. Oh, please, Grandpa, wear your hearing aids.”

Merry Christmas

My father came from a large family, one that had more children than money. It was during a time when people didn’t shop beyond their means. Stories of hardship were common and abundance was evidenced in feasting. Dad said that one year, he received an orange and a wooden pencil for Christmas. Nothing more. He got those because it was his turn to get Christmas presents.

Days of yesteryear

I grew up when kids were supposed to be members of the “clean plate club.” We were supposed to eat everything on the plate because of the starving children in China. I never figured out how my eating everything on my plate helped the starving children in China.


I was eating at a fine restaurant with Alex Pirkl of Blooming Prairie. He had recently taken a course in etiquette in Washington, DC. At such meals as the one we were enjoying, there is more silverware than needed. Alex pointed out two forks and explained that one was for eating and the other was for protecting our food from other people. Miss Manners would have been proud.

School days

I was in Mrs. Sibilrud’s third grade class. She was a marvelous teacher, but I wondered how I’d ever get out of the third grade. Looking back, I wonder how I ever got into the third grade. A sixth grader had given me something I’d never seen—a Certs. She told me that it was loaded with Retsyn. That was good enough for me. Certs were two, two mints in one — a breath mint and a candy mint. I put the Certs in my pocket and forgot about it until I was headed home on the school bus. I took it from my pocket, blew off the lint and dust, and popped it into my mouth. Why not? It was in mint condition.