Al Batt: Popcorn chewing drowns out cellphone calls in movie theaters

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Echoes From the Loafers’ Club Meeting

Hello, officer.

Where were you between five and six?

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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: For the pessimist, April showers bring May weeds. Remember the good old days when presidential candidates were better behaved than pro wrestling fans? I enjoy the sound of moviegoers chewing popcorn in the theater. It drowns out the cellphone conversations.

I’m wearing them right now

I didn’t have enough shoes. I was about two shoes short.

It’s not something that I wouldn’t do for all the ore in Oregon, but I don’t enjoy shoe shopping as much as I should. I accompanied my wife to a shoe store where they sold shoes. It’s funny how that works. I put on a pair that looked as if they’d treat my feet kindly. Then I strolled around the store. I might have skipped merrily.

“How do they feel?” my bride asked.

“Like shoes,” I replied.

It was true, but it wasn’t the right answer.

On the job

I spoke at the delightful Verde Valley Birding & Nature Festival in Cottonwood, Arizona, and visited Dead Horse Ranch State Park just outside town. The park’s name derives from the Ireys family, who came to Arizona from Minnesota looking for a ranch to buy in the 1940s. A dead horse was near the road leading to one of the ranches. After viewing many properties, the father asked which one the family favored. They wanted the one with the dead horse. The Ireys family chose the name Dead Horse Ranch and the name was retained when Arizona State Parks acquired the land in 1973.

For no good reason, this reminds me of the two Minnesota farmers who were discussing the day.

“I’m having problems with my flock of cows,” said one.

“Herd of cows,” corrected the other.

“Of course, I’ve heard of cows,” the first farmer growled, “I’ve got a flock of them.”

A flock of kids at the state park produced sounds from water warblers. A bit of water was poured into a brightly colored, plastic bird and a child blew gently or not so gently into the mouthpiece, producing a warbling song. They were realistic, sounding just like real plastic birds.

When I was a youngster, I won a ceramic water warbler at a carnival. I decided to become a professional musician and play that water warbler in a symphony orchestra. I practiced morning, noon and night for weeks. I came home from school one day and my father informed me that my water warbler had flown away. It surprised me. I didn’t know that water warblers migrated.

Things are looking up and down

A friend, an avid disc golfer, said, “I’m a Frisbeetarian. I believe that when I die, my soul flies up onto a roof and becomes stuck there.”

I stopped at Hawkeye Point in Osceola County in northwest Iowa, just off Highway 60 near Sibley. It’s the highest elevation in Iowa at 1,670 feet. The Ocheydan Mound, located southeast of Ocheydan, was believed to be the highest point in Iowa until 1971. The Mound was formed millions of years ago by a traveling glacier. Hawkeye Point is a roof free of Frisbees, but I still enjoyed the panoramic view of three states it offered. A week earlier, I’d been in Jerome, Arizona, elevation 5,246 feet. The two places were equally beautiful.

Those thrilling days of yesteryear

It was back in the days when if a diner wanted a non-smoking table, the waitress removed the ashtray from the table.

Larry and I were boys who had been given squirt guns. They were cheaper than giving us a swimming pool. It was a hot day and it felt good being soaking wet. We fought every battle that could be fought with squirt guns. We were about to move onto other hijinks when we discovered that yellowjackets had a nest in a rusty hulk of a Ford Model A stationed at the edge of a woods. Larry and I joined forces. The yellowjackets became the enemy. We attacked them with squirt guns blazing, with the blazing part being imagined. We did that because we were boys. Boys do stupid things for the first 50 years or more of their lives. The yellowjackets didn’t enjoy being wet. They stung us in retaliation. Yellowjackets one, squirt gun toting boys zero.