Al Batt: ‘I’ll curse that bridge when I come to it’

Published 10:34 am Thursday, August 20, 2015

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting:

I wish you wouldn’t complain about everything.

You do the same thing.

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Then you should know how annoying it is.

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: The world always steps aside for people who know where they are going and for giant fuel tanker trucks.

The cafe chronicles

The waitress brought the twins — salt and pepper shakers. She was an uptalker. She gave her declarative sentences an upward intonation that made them sound like questions. He ordered a small orange juice. The waitress brought him a large orange juice. He complained, not wanting to pay for a large orange juice. She drank half his orange juice. Everyone was happy.

I miss the local café. It closed. It was like the old TV show, “Cheers.” Everybody knew your name. When one of the central characters walked into that bar, everyone said “Norm!” It was the same for me at the old cafe. When I walked in, someone always said, “You again?” That was nice.

The sign said, ‘Road work ahead, behind and on both sides’

I put a “Road work ahead” hood ornament on my car. That saved me having to look for the ubiquitous signs. Cratered roads are automotive suspension test tracks.

“I’ll curse that bridge when I come to it,” I grumbled. I added that it was roads like this one that made me want to talk to myself. Then I realized I’d been talking to myself.

I fantasized that walking might have been a faster way to travel. I remembered a day long ago when I pulled alongside a hitchhiker with my old Rambler that I’d bought from Jeddeloh’s. “Hop in,” I said.

He looked at my chariot and replied, “No, thanks. I’m in a hurry. I’d better walk.”

I drove through a series of orange barrels signifying road construction on my way to a nursing home. I walked to the right room. “I feel guilty about not coming to see you sooner,” I said. I hoped he appreciated my guilt feelings. I guess the most important thing was that I was there. I’ve learned that the perfect birthday, thank you or sympathy card is the one I send. We talked about sweet corn. We both loved the stuff. He told me it was best if you had a boiling pot of water waiting at the end of the corn row as you picked it.

I told him that whenever I went to town this time of the year, I made sure to lock my car to keep people from depositing excess zucchini into it.

He said that his new home was OK. He’d just attended services at a new church. He was worried that the pews might prove too hard for him, but he slept right through the whole sermon, just as he had in his old church.

And the teacher said

“Your paper is exactly the same as Tommy’s, how do you explain that?”

“We used the same pencil.”

“I don’t think so.”

“I was paying homage to another’s work.”

That wasn’t me. I didn’t copy from anybody’s paper. I specialized in creative answers. I once wrote a poem in Pig Latin, because that made it easier to rhyme. I read it aloud to myself. My teacher snuck up on me.

“Don’t let me catch you doing that again,” she warned.

“I’ll try not to,” I replied, “but it’d help if you stopped being so quiet when you walk.”

I must have had great teachers because I still take classes. I took one on straw bale gardening, a variant of container gardening. The idea is to grow vegetables in a bale still secured by twine by planting once the straw began to decompose. This offers a warm, moist and nutrient-rich environment for seedlings. The added height is good for anyone with difficulty bending over or doing the heavy work of turning the soil. Weeding is eliminated.

Kolacky Days

The sign said, “Parking for Czechs only.” I had a check in my wallet, so I parked. My wife and I attended Kolacky Days in Montgomery, an annual celebration of that city’s Czech heritage. A kolacky (some spell it kolache) is a sweet pillow of dough with fillings of prune, poppy seed, apricot, etc. We bought some at Franke’s Bakery, which makes up to 2,000 dozen kolacky for the weekend event.

Meeting adjourned

An ordinary day becomes extraordinary when served with kindness.