Tobacco chewing dog turns to church shoes

Published 11:22 am Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

“I’ve been trying to lose weight by doing pushups on that slippery tile floor in my house.”

“How much have you lost?”

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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: if you think you might be lost, you are.


I’ve learned

1. Long-range weather forecasts are accurate for up to an hour.

2. There are lumps in everything.

3. With the abundance of cellphones with cameras, a picture is now worth only 100 words.


The basement bee

A bee — neither a borrower nor lender bee — was in our basement. I couldn’t understand what it said, but it wasn’t a mumble bee. It was a bumblebee droning along in search of an exit. The bee was lost and confused. I understood. If you haven’t spent half your life being confused, you’re not normal. I wanted to give the bee its freedom. I didn’t want to hurt the bumblebee because I like bees. I didn’t want the bee to hurt me because I like me. Stinging is in the hand of a bee holder. I captured the bumblebee in a jar and released it outside.


School daze

I’d learned that if it looked level, it was good enough for me. Good enough seldom is. There was nothing left for me to do but to apply more sandpaper to the wood. I kept sanding. I was supposed to be making a lamp that would become a cherished family heirloom passed from generation to generation. People not yet born would one day stare at my amazing creation and say profound things like, “That lamp makes a powerful statement. I can sense the numen.” I was in junior high wood shop class. I persisted in my rigorous sanding until my priceless heirloom was reduced to a shoddy toothpick. It wasn’t my teacher’s fault. He was knowledgeable (a primitive form of Google) and patient, but he was missing the last joint of one finger. I found that off-putting. It bothered me enough that my grade wasn’t sparkling. All I was good at was sanding and I was too good at that. It wasn’t all my fault. My instructor graded on a curve. There were carpenter ants in the shop room. I was competing against professionals.


My neighbor

My neighbor Gnarly has lived here all his life. He remembers when our dark nights were a darker dark and he claims that he has heard every lie ever told in the Township. Gnarly has a farmette — 12 acres with critters. For years, whenever he’d stub his toe or hit his thumb with a hammer. Or stub his thumb or hit his toe with a hammer, Gnarly used his Social Security number as an expletive. He doesn’t believe in swearing and found that the long number served well as a replacement for cursing. Besides, remembering his Social Security number kept his mind sharp.

Gnarly had to quit doing that. He worried about identity theft. He chewed tobacco most of his life. He gave it up at the same time he quit using his Social Security number as a cussword. The two seemed to go together.

His dog had chewed tobacco, too. Deprived of that pleasure, the dog chewed up one of Gnarly’s church shoes. Gnarly’s a frugal fellow. He took the gnawed wingtip to a shoe repair shop in the hopes of saving his footwear investment. He put the shoe on the counter and said, “My dog did this.” The repairman picked up the shoe, looked it over, and put it down on the counter.

“Well, what do you recommend?” Gnarly asked.

The cobbler replied, “The best thing you could do would be to give your dog the other shoe, too.”


Nature notes

“I found a baby bird. What should I do?” It’s common for chicks to venture from their nest before they are capable of flight. Some fall, some jump. The parents care for them during that time. If the young bird is in imminent danger, such as from a cat, move the bird to nearby shrubbery or another safer place. It’s a myth that parent birds will abandon a baby if you touch it and they smell your scent on it.

“Where are the goldfinches?” Goldfinches come and go from feeders according to the availability of wild food. Dandelions provide some of the first wild seeds for goldfinches. The nomadic birds will return to grace your feeders.


Meeting adjourned

Sometimes having a good day comes from not ruining it for others. Be kind.