Al Batt: Crying at the movies … in the checkout line

Published 9:19 am Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Echoes From the Loafers’ Club Meeting

Sarah is mad at me.


Email newsletter signup

Because I mispronounced her name. I called her Sara.

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: Having a cold means that you no longer need worry about catching one. Anyone with a toothbrush has no excuse for having nothing to do.

Shopping for an appetite

I’d warned everyone to get out of the way of the flying pigs. I’d just finished my Christmas shopping. The store should have put up bleachers and charged admission. And the experts had said that it couldn’t be finished before the day before Christmas. “Ha!” I say to them, collectively and individually. I’d finished corralling gifts in a shopping cart with a wobbly wheel in a busy store where amidst the proclamations of bonhomie such as, “I haven’t seen you since the last time,” a frazzled employee had grumbled, “Doesn’t anyone have a home they could go to?”

A plumber had been ahead of me in the checkout line. I complained to him about the leak in my wallet. The cashier asked whether I wanted paper or plastic. I needed to consult the manual. Sometimes a fellow forgets which one he should get. I have 414 cloth shopping bags that I’d left in my car. They stay in pristine condition when they go unused.

Shopping builds an appetite. I entered a cafe and noticed a sign saying that the special was, “Hamburger and a shake $5.”

That sounded as if it were meant for me. I’d considered fruitcake, but I’d be eating too much fruitcake over the holidays. I admit it, I like fruitcake. I am what I eat. In a landmark decision, I ordered the special.

The hamburger was OK, but the handshake could have been firmer.

Now that the Christmas tree is out of a job

I learn something every Christmas. This year, I discovered that some turkey and some mistletoe make for a bad sandwich.

A mourning dove spent Christmas Day in the platform feeder attached to a window of our house. It’s not a rare bird, nor is it being on a feeder an odd thing. Still, it’s a miracle. The dove was my mother’s favorite bird. I miss her. Seeing her empty chair at Christmas still causes an ache after all these years. I became a bit misty-eyed. That’s not an uncommon occurrence. Since I first became a grandfather, I’ve started crying at the movie theater. Usually, it’s when I pay for the tickets. This was different. The dove on the feeder brought back wonderful memories. Lovely memories are miracles.

A friend told me of a button being mysteriously sewn back onto his shirt on the day of his wedding anniversary. He didn’t do it and his wife had died eight months earlier.

My mother-in-law is the last of the generation not only of her family, but of her late husband’s as well. Her sister Alice died in May. Her sons found gifts that Alice had wrapped and tagged. One of them was for my mother-in-law. This Christmas, my mother-in-law received a Christmas gift from a late sister. The gift wasn’t alone. It came with an avalanche of pleasant memories.

Those thrilling days of yesteryear

He spent all day Sunday dreading Monday. He chewed gum while writing, “I will not chew gum in class” 100 times on the blackboard.

He didn’t like school, there was no doubt of that. But I’m convinced that he liked his teacher. So did I. We all did.

Each year, I gave my grade school teacher a Christmas gift. It was typically something handcrafted or baked by my mother and wrapped in festive paper. It wasn’t an attempt at influence peddling. I didn’t imagine that it would help me get better grades. I didn’t want to be a brown-noser. I wanted my teacher to know that she was loved and appreciated. The teacher never failed to send a thank-you note.

Nature notes

“How can I keep squirrels off my bird feeders?” The squirrels assume that the feeders are squirrel feeders. Baffles, usually metal or plastic domes or saucer-shaped disks, placed above and below pole feeders make it difficult for squirrels to cling to, climb over or gnaw through. Most commercial feeders that are touted as squirrel-proof are merely squirrel-resistant. They do help save food for the birds, but can be expensive.

Meeting adjourned

Be kind or be quiet.