Al Batt: It’s easy to jump to confusions

Published 9:50 am Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Echoes from the Loafer’s Club Meeting:

I didn’t get out of bed yesterday.

Why not?

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I have a condition.

What condition?

Chronic laziness.

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: It’s too easy to jump to confusions.

Cafe chronicles

His car, yellow and rusty like a bruised banana, was parked outside. He was one of those guys who knew a guy who knew a guy. He claimed that he’d been so poor while growing up that he used to go hunting with an ear of corn and a hammer.

“One more cup of coffee and the tide will come in. If I live one more year, I’m eating all the red meat that I want,” he declared. Live long and abandon diet.

He complained about the small portions until he took a bite. He said that his son was doing well since he got out of prison and had just remarried. They didn’t have a band or a DJ at the wedding dance. Each attendee received his or her own iPod with the music loaded into it. “I’ll bet you’ve never seen anything like that in Iowa.”

We reminded him that he was in Minnesota.

“That’s OK,” he responded. “I’ll bet you’ve still never seen anything like that in Iowa.”

Scattered notes

I wore cargo pants. I was a walking junk drawer, a bipedal briefcase filled with scattered notes. Here are several of those.

A fellow at a library in Great Falls, Montana, told me that he had seven children — all daughters. He wasn’t just part of a family, he was in a sorority.

A man in Houma, Louisiana, told me that he had friends and family who ate nutrias — rodents that look like something between a muskrat and a beaver. I asked if there was a secret to eating them. He said it was to ask for a blindfold.

He was an infrequent visitor to my past. He’d buy a bag of potato chips and eat every chip in front of us kids, without sharing a single morsel. Then he’d blow up the empty bag with breath smelling of cigarette smoke before popping it with his hands in an attempt to amuse us. He was like watching others enjoying an amusement park ride.

Not a passing grade

I was headed down a two-lane blacktop near the city of Manchester, population 57. I was listening to a Rodgers and Hammerstein tune from “Oklahoma.” I sang along in the key of off. “Oh, what a beautiful morning. Oh, what a beautiful day. I’ve got a wonderful feeling, everything’s going my way.” I grew up listening to music while looking at album covers. I don’t do that while driving. A garbage truck was ahead of me. It signaled a left-hand turn at a crossroads. In the other lane was a pickup also signaling to turn left. I stopped and waited. A business van passed the pickup on the right by zooming through the right-hand turn lane. He didn’t make a turn. Yipes! Maybe he’d been texting helpful driving tips to the rest of the fleet. It was good that the garbage truck driver was observant or everything could have been going the van driver’s way and none of it would have been good.

Nature notes

The cardinal is the state bird of seven states and the western meadowlark is the state bird of six others.

Meeting adjourned

“I can live a whole month on a good compliment.” — Mark Twain