Hitchhiking to school

Published 11:05 am Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

“I taught my cat to do imitations.”

“Who does it imitate?”

“Other cats.”

Driving by the Bruces

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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: you can’t trust a hamburger with beets on it or a yellow light.

I’ve learned

1. To use a noisy shopping cart so that other shoppers in the supermarket can hear me coming. An aside—it must be someone’s job to mess up one wheel on every shopping cart.

2. He who limps is still walking.

3. A realist believes in miracles.

Missing the bus

I wasn’t far into my life’s journey when I hit a spell where I missed the school bus a few times. I missed the bus because I didn’t want to catch it badly enough. I knew what time I had to be at the end of our farm drive, but I didn’t always manage to beat the bus there. Life is like that. My father grew weary of driving me to school. He had a low tolerance for debt but a high tolerance for hitchhiking. That’s right, my father told me to get myself to the gravel road and thumb a ride. He gave me a verbal permission slip. They were different times when hitchhiking was an honored means of locomotion. A fellow could thumb a ride without a single shudder running up anyone’s spine.

My thumb did no work. The first car always stopped. I never needed to ask, “Can I get a ride?”

I didn’t get a single word out before a driver asked, “You need a ride?”

I offered to chip in on the gas, but my offer fell upon deaf ears. That was good. I had no money.

Kind souls got me to school. I thanked each driver many times in the belief that I could never thank anyone too much. I considered each good deed I received as a loan to be repaid. The payment plan is that I try to do good things. I’ve learned that a giver gets.

We are here to help others get to where they need to be.

There aren’t many do-it-yourself pallbearers

She had reached what she had determined to be the time of little time. She had become physically fragile. She hoped I was taking care of myself because she was running out of pallbearers. I told her that I’d give up home repairs. I don’t have the proper gear for most jobs. I know it is a poor workman who blames his tools. A glass of water makes a fine level, but do-it-yourself projects are just asking for trouble. They always end with me saying to my wife, “OK, turn it on. Turn it off! Turn it off!”

Oh, you know, whatshisname

Names are difficult to remember. Proper nouns escape easily from experienced brains. To make matters worse, when the brain does remember an elusive name, it doesn’t always share it with the tongue. In my case, this is not surprising. When I was new to the world, there were 149 million people in the United States. Now there must be at least 311 million. No wonder I can’t remember everyone’s name.


The woman told me that her family had insisted that she buy hearing aids—good ones. She purchased a pair that cost more than $7000. She said that the hearing aids worked great but she worried about the cost. I assured her that she had made a wise decision. Her family wanted her to be able to hear and she needed to hear things. She countered my reasoning by saying, “I’m 93 years old. I’ve heard enough.”

Nature notes

Insects are the most common form of life on the planet and beetles the most numerous of the insects. J.B.S.Haldane was a 19th century British biologist at a time of great scientific and religious controversy brought about by Darwin’s theory of evolution. Someone asked Haldane, “What has your study taught you about the Creator?” Haldane replied, “He had an inordinate love of beetles.”

Heat lightning is the light from a thunderstorm too distant for the thunder to be heard. The term “heat lightning” comes from the fact that the effect is most often seen on the warm, humid nights of July and August. When the sky is hazy, as is typical on sultry, summer nights, lightning is reflected from a layer of haze into the night sky.

Meeting adjourned

Lord Byron wrote, “All who would win joy, must share it; happiness was born a twin.” Be kind.