Al Batt: To neighbor boy, textbooks are as good as mystery novels

Published 8:44 am Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting:

I want two hamburgers.

How do you want them?

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One with onions and one without.

Which one do you want without the onions?

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: driver’s license photos are never used in obituaries.

Sayanora, summer

Summer doesn’t officially end until September 22, but kids and parents know better. School starts and summer is over.

The neighbor boy didn’t care much for school. To him, every textbook was a mystery novel.

I liked school. It sharpened the brain. When caught sleeping in class, I lifted my head and said, “Amen.”

Paparazzi pester the nonagenarian

She didn’t like being called a little, old lady. She’d always been little. She preferred being called an old, little lady.

Despite the fact that life can be like walking through spider webs, she’d managed to reach her 90th birthday. Once she reached that milestone, odd things happened. Friends and relatives wanted their photos taken with her. She felt like a sunset.

An unimpressive hole in one

A fellow in Sterling, Illinois told me that he played too much golf. His wife wasn’t happy about his addiction to the links. He knew that he should cut back, but he couldn’t. He might be able to now that he’d gotten a hole in one. He scored the ace and rushed home to share the news with his wife. After he blurted out his remarkable achievement, she asked, “How did the other guys do?”

Cannibal sandwich

When my ancestors arrived in covered wagons, they brought covered dishes with them. I like hotdishes.

I was summoned to Shawano, Wisconsin. A man I’d met while speaking in Appleton invited me to a cannibal sandwich lunch. This concoction was originated in French restaurants. Some folks call it steak tartare. It’s raw beef, raw egg yolk, and a slice of onion served on rye bread. The meat was so rare, a veterinarian could have saved the cow. My sandwich ate the corn off a plate at the next table.

Take me out to the ballgame

I played softball at a high level. Third grade. Actually, I played softball forever. I played until people started asking, “Didn’t you used to play ball?” They asked that during games in which I was playing.

One day, my cousin Russell Hauenstein was playing for Emmetsburg High School. He’d just pitched and his arm was exhausted. They we were playing Algona and their other pitcher was struggling. The coach asked Russ if he could pitch.

Russ said that he could as long as he threw nothing but slow curve balls.

Russ pitched as another cousin of mine, Swede Batt of Burt, umpired. The game did not go the way Russ would have liked.

After the game, Swede asked Russ why he hadn’t started. Russ replied that he had no arm left and shouldn’t have been pitching. Swede said, “Don’t worry, you weren’t.”

They say

Julie Knutson of Hartland said that a group of lambs raised by her sons were named for the characters on the TV sitcom, “Seinfeld.” There was Jerry, George, Kramer, Elaine, Newman, etc. Each of the lambs took on the personality of its namesake.

My wife Gail, also known as Poor Mrs. Batt, is concerned that The Village Inn, the local eatery, might close if it isn’t sold. She suggests that if such an unfortunate event happens, the restaurant should be turned into The Hartland Test Kitchens.

Nature notes

A bald eagle is a bit longer on average than a golden eagle, but a golden eagle slightly outweighs the bald.

Meeting adjourned

“The greatest degree of inner tranquility comes from the development of love and compassion. The more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being.” — The Dalai Lama