Al Batt: Bumper stickers give something to not text about

Published 10:15 am Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting:

How much is the sweet corn?

It’s $6 a dozen.

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Did you raise it yourself?

I did. Yesterday it was $5 a dozen.

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: a roof of a car makes a terrible cup holder.

The cafe chronicles

The sign read, “Searching for healthy options? You’re in the wrong place.”

“Feather, leather, or fin?” asked the waitress.

A farmer, taking a break from a battle until death with thistles, said it had rained so hard that it was a pumpkin floater. He was in his 60s and trying to remember the ‘60s. He wasn’t a vegetarian in the strictest sense. He ate meat with every meal. He ate sweet corn just as he attended church, seasonally. He had three speeds — slow, stop, and reverse. He’d given his wife a single rose for their anniversary. It made her happy. He preferred a cornfield to flowers.

Flying pigs

Lewis Carroll wrote, “The time has come, the Walrus said, To talk of many things: Of shoes — and ships — and sealing wax — Of cabbages — and kings — And why the sea is boiling hot — And whether pigs have wings.”

I read about driverless cars — something close to flying pigs, but nothing new. I see driverless cars each day. The drivers are texting.

I don’t text while driving, but I do read bumper stickers on the vehicles ahead of me at red lights. They give me something to not text about.

Township thistles

Tom Donovan of Hartland said that his father, also named Tom, was a township officer. Tom the elder once responded to complaints about thistles growing on a farmer’s land. He visited the farmer and advised the man to do something about the weeds. The farmer protested by saying, “You have more thistles on your farm than I do.”

Tom’s father replied, “That’s true, but I have nicer neighbors.”

Crabapple helmets

Ted Hedberg of St. James said that when he and his brother were boys, they’d determined crabapples were meant to be thrown at one another. Great battles ensued. Their mother worried they might be injured, but she knew it was difficult to discourage such behavior. Boys threw things. She lessened her concerns by making her sons wear football helmets when the crabapples flew. The boys wore the football helmets because they were football helmets.

You couldn’t feel the electricity in the air

A car hit a power pole. There were no injuries, but our home was without power for five hours. I found myself flipping light switches even though I knew there was no electricity. Force of habit is a force to be reckoned with. We don’t just talk about the weather. We say, “Is the electricity still off?” too.

Measuring manure piles by the foot 

Talking to plants is supposed to increase their vitality. I said nice things to my sweet corn, but my words fell on deaf ears.

Live and learn. I recall stepping out of the barn. It was spring. I could tell because the manure pile, that offered a shortcut, was thawing. John Burroughs wrote, “Leap and the net will appear.” I leaped. No net appeared. I sank into the muck, which released a familiar fragrance. I became stuck and yelled, “Fire!”

My father rescued me.

“Why did you yell ‘fire,’” he asked.

“Would you have come if I’d hollered ‘manure’?”

A millionaire writes

The assignment was to write an essay titled, “What would you do if you were a millionaire.” I turned in a blank sheet of paper. My teacher questioned my work. I told her that was what I’d have done if I had $1 million.

I became one of the “following people,” as in when a school announcement said, “Will the following people please report to the principal’s office …”