Al Batt: The parade of life passes quickly

Published 9:09 am Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting:

You know what they say?

No, what do they say.

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They say, “You know what they say?”

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: Practice does not always make purfekt.

The cafe chronicles

I was hungry. All of my swallows had gone back to Capistrano. I prefer a small cafe, even if a salad is nothing more than a sprig of parsley resting on a steak, over the franchised wines and dins.

I ordered the unusual. The food went from skillet to gullet in record time. The catch of the day was a baseball. A man at the table of infinite knowledge locked a lip over a coffee cup. He thought that tipping a waitress meant giving her a shove.

“How are you doing?” I asked.

“Oh, I can still complain,” he complained.

He thought the coffee had too much sugar in it, until he realized he was drinking the maple syrup. I’d have had to nudge my way into the conversation.

I heard, “The coffee is as tough as the steaks. It’s so bad that each cup seems bottomless. The hamburgers aren’t that good, but each one comes with a free packet of ketchup.”

I’ll be checking the traplines

My wife asked me to pick up a couple of mousetraps. I didn’t know we celebrated the birthdays of any mice or that she had her mind set on having a mouse fur coat.

I headed out early in the morning. I was catching a flight to Texas. I planned to stop and buy the mousetraps, leave them in my car parked in a gigantic lot and employ them when I got home. The city with the hardware store had parking meters. If they couldn’t get you for going too fast, they’d get you for remaining still. I found the mousetraps quickly and got in the checkout line. I liked the place. It was homey, hardwarey, and they didn’t have my email address. That meant I wouldn’t get a survey from them. A survey is nothing more than a homework assignment. The man ahead of me had a cart heaped high with things. He was a nice fellow and asked if I’d like to go ahead of him. There were no 10 items or less or 10 items or fewer lanes. I declined saying that I had plenty of time to catch my plane. He looked at the two mousetraps, likely thinking they were much too small to catch an airplane.

Driving Mrs. Batt crazy

I spent the day in my wife’s company. Small world, huh? Unless you have to paint it. I drove her new car. It was a learning experience.

My 14-year-old granddaughter has talked of the delights of one day being a licensed driver. It will be a learning experience. Her father’s chances of getting enough sleep have diminished.

If your wife is right, agree with her. If you are right, don’t tell your wife. This rule applies to granddaughters as well as wives.

We all struggle

Mike Kingery of Atwater, Minnesota, played major league baseball for the Royals, Mariners, Giants, Athletics, Rockies and Pirates. Mike and his family, he has eight children, formed a bluegrass and gospel band. He and his wife Chris moved 54 times in 15 years during his baseball career. I enjoyed listening to their music. There was no forced clapping during their performances. I like that in a band. Mike downplayed his musical abilities by saying that people watch the Kingery Family just to see an MLB player struggle on bass.

The next day, I looked at a maple tree that I’d planted years ago. Its rapid growth pleased me, but it reminded me of how quickly time passes. We start at the top of a playground slide. Once we let go, we go quickly. I’d visited an Alzheimer’s unit recently — a place for good people whose minds had betrayed them.

There was a slow failing of human machines. People were treated with gentle care as they waited to die. The parade of life passes quickly from life’s sweet beginnings. Most of us will end up struggling on bass.

Nature notes

When birds perch on a power line, they don’t form a complete circuit, so the electricity doesn’t flow through them. Larger birds are electrocuted when they come into contact with a second wire, completing the circuit.

Meeting adjourned

Be kind just because.