Al Batt: A testy cafe on Clean Fork Friday

Published 9:50 am Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting:

I’m taking a first aid class. You should, too.

Not me.

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What would you do if you came across a badly injured car accident victim?

I’d probably throw up.

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 traffic was moving fast. Too fast. I keep telling myself that life moves right along without any need of being pushed. How is furniture always able to find my shins in the dark? There are few things more disappointing than sweet corn that looks good, but tastes bad.

The cafe chronicles

“You can’t come in here while wearing a tie,” said one of the gentlemen seated at the Table of Infinite Knowledge. They get testy on Clean Fork Friday.

The waitress poured a cup for those with cups while saying, “Here’s whatever kind of coffee you want it to be.”

One loafer said, “I had to eat out. My toaster is broken. That was good food. If I were a tipper, I’d leave a tip.”

I believed him.

A slice of pie and marriage

The waiter brought a slice of pie and two forks. My wife used the second fork to fend off any of my attempts to steal a bit of the dessert.

I remember when two good friends were getting married. Not to each other, but they were getting hitched on the same day at the same time. I was invited to both weddings. I talked to both friends. John asked me to go to Chuck’s wedding. Chuck encouraged me to attend John’s nuptials. My wife went to one. I went to the other.

I’m not proud of this, but I fell asleep in church once. I was footsore and wayworn. I’d been working far from home and had traveled most of the night. That’s not a good excuse, but it was the only one I had. I was dreaming of singing birds along dirt roads when I felt an elbow in my ribs. It was threatening enough that I began my road back from my dream place. A second elbow hit me with a painful thump.

“I’m up!” I said and gave the elbower a dirty look. The woman wasn’t my wife. My bride sat smiling on the other side of me.

Those thrilling days of yesteryear

My mother was driving me to play practice at the grade school in Hartland. My father had told her that the car’s taillights didn’t work. My mother said that she’d use hand signals. These were not the kind of signals that some folks make when they are cut off in traffic.

When we neared the stop sign at the entrance to the nearest paved road, my mother fretted aloud that she wasn’t sure which hand signal indicated stop or the left-hand turn that she needed to make.

To signal a right turn, rest your left elbow on the windowsill and raise your forearm so it forms a 90-degree angle with your arm. Keep your left hand open. To make a left-turn signal, stick your left arm straight out with your hand extended past the side mirror. To signal a stop or a slowing down, stick your left arm out the window, pointing down, with your palm facing behind you.

My mother did all three of these just to be on the safe side. If there had been a car behind us, the driver knew that Mom was going to do something.

I added another signal. I raised my hand. I needed to go to the bathroom.

The nature walk

My wife and I were walking down a trail in Weslaco, Texas. It was a lovely day. I was happy to see a blue-black snake stretching across the entire width of the trail.

“Look at the beautiful Texas indigo!” I said, thrilled to see the big snake.

My wife was unable to form words. Probably not because she was dumbstruck with delight.

The indigo is a large nonvenomous snake, reaching up to 8 feet long. A male’s territory could be 3,000 acres. An indigo devours nearly anything it can overpower, including birds, frogs, lizards, small mammals, salamanders, snakes, toads and turtles.

Meeting adjourned

Be kind by encouraging others to encourage others.