Al Batt: Toilet paper for good company

Published 9:20 am Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

My uncle Alfred plays football.

At his age?

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The whole family can’t wait for him to kick off.

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: Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes the reason is because I’m an idiot.


The kind lady told me that she regularly visited her aunt Cora at a nursing home. At the end of each visit, Cora asked her guest to bring her some toilet paper because she detested the toilet paper that was provided for her. My mother had been in the same facility, but had never once commented on the quality of its toilet paper. Perhaps being a person who once recycled catalogs as toilet paper, she hadn’t noticed. Visitors brought Cora toilet paper frequently. When Cora died, her closet was found to be stuffed with gifted toilet paper. She was perfectly happy using the toilet paper of the nursing home. What Cora was doing was encouraging visits. She didn’t want better toilet paper, she wanted more company.

Funeral potatoes

I attended three wakes in one day. There was one at a church before the funeral and another at each of two funeral homes. I was glad I’d known the deceased individuals and neither funeral home offered trinkets reading, “Come again” as lagniappes.

A fellow mourner and I talked as we waited in line to pay our respects. He told me he went to wakes regularly, but never attended funerals. I asked why.

“When I used to go to funerals,” he said, “I’d eat a meal. I particularly enjoy funeral potatoes. I don’t like getting a meal from someone without being able to buy them lunch in return.”

My Grandma Cook had died. The funeral had passed. Relatives had gone home. My mother and her sister Helen were cleaning Grandma’s house. Books abounded, but each found a new home. Mom and aunt Helen were carrying the last few books out the door when books were dropped. Money fell from them. Were the bills used as bookmarks? That’s doubtful. I suspect Grandma found the books a place to hide mad money or to set aside a little moola for emergencies. Nobody else reported finding money in Grandma’s books. Maybe there had been no more. Mom and Helen fretted not. They’d gotten by without the money yesterday and they’d be all right without it tomorrow.

Hokey Pokey

This past winter, a first-time visitor to Minnesota asked me, “Is the weather always like this here?”

I replied, “Only when it’s cold, windy and snowing.”

Eileen Harguth of Waseca told me her grandson, Drew, told her he was addicted to the Hokey Pokey until he turned himself around.

The weather has turned itself around. Spring has sprung. Maybe it was the Hokey Pokey that did it?

I was in a public library, trying to catch up on writing assignments. My wife loves to knit. She was knitting away furiously, trying to get a project finished before she ran out of yarn when I noticed the substantial magazine rack wasn’t displaying three magazines because they were frequently stolen. The three periodicals rapidly rustled were Vanity Fair, GQ and Mental Floss.

My sister Georgianna attended a number of schools. My parents moved around early in their marriage, searching for the right place to call home. Georgianna made sure that her four children went to only one school and that they didn’t steal magazines from libraries.

Let’s hope the thieves do the Hokey Pokey.

Thank you for thanking me

“Thank you,” she said as I left the business.

“Thank you,” I replied. I’d thanked her for thanking me.

While in the UK, I found myself saying “sorry” in reply to others saying “sorry” and they say “sorry” a lot there.

As I left the store where I’d thanked someone for thanking me, I realized I was OK with that.

Nature notes

Robert Frost wrote, “I have wished a bird would fly away, and not sing by my house all day; have clapped my hands at him from the door when it seemed as if I could bear no more. The fault must partly have been in me. The bird was not to blame for his key. And of course there must be something wrong in wanting to silence any song.”

Meeting adjourned

If you can’t be kind, be kinder.