Al Batt: Anyone who eats here doesn’t scare easily

Published 10:11 am Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

The world could use more people like you.

Thank you.

But not many more.

Driving by the Bruces

Email newsletter signup

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: There was a rattle in the car as I drove a bumpy road. It was caused by change lurking in a cupholder. Money talks and it rattles. Cars should come equipped with toasters. I envision the Toyota Toaster. “No road work ahead” signs should be placed where no work is being done instead of “Road work ahead” signs where work is being done. They’d need fewer signs that way.

The cafe chronicles

“The food here is good if my false teeth can take the beating. One cheeseburger, hold the cheese,” he ordered. He mused that salt-and-pepper shakers aren’t shakers. They are salt-and-pepper holders. I knew him a little, not a lot. We howdied, but we didn’t shake.

He welcomed me, “You’re a brave man. Anyone who eats here doesn’t scare easily.”

Small victories

The third-grader loves to play softball. She’s happy to take a walk. She’s happy to hit a foul ball. She’s just happy to play. And I’m happy that Hadley is happy. She rapped a base hit. She was even happier than before. Almost as happy as her grandpa.

I put a new blade into my razor. I lathered my face and shaved with that bloodthirsty instrument while listening to the “William Tell Overture,” famed as Lone Ranger’s theme song. The shaving strokes became caught up in the music. I figured that if I survived that, I’d survive anything the day threw at me.

Necrologic logic

“Behave in class. Listen. Learn. I gave up a funeral to be here,” I told my class.

A woman told me that she’d had a photo taken for her obituary. She was prepared. I’d never considered that. I see images on gravestones. You might want to look spiffy for that. The woman said that she used to travel, but the 3 miles to town had gotten to be too much for her. She’d reached the age where if she fell, people would say that she’d taken a fall. She’d added her collection of hula-hoops to a garage sale. The hula-hoops were no longer in her size. She’d moved away 60 years ago, but still subscribed to her hometown newspaper. She read the obituaries. They contained the only names she recognized.

When I was a boy, people died of natural causes following a long illness (cancer) or a short illness (heart problems). I read the obit of the 106-year-old woman stating that her parents had preceded her in death. No surprise there.

The world was flat

I had a flat tire thanks to a deer antler shard finding its way into the treads. I changed the tire on a roadside as dark as anything gets today. My flashlight was as dead as it had been the last time I’d used it. While searching for the jack handle, I tried to remember the last time I’d changed a tire. I’ve been lucky. It’d been many moons. I couldn’t recall who’d been president the last time I fought with a flat. While I struggled to change the tire by the light of my four-way flashers, a car pulled in behind me. A young couple, strangers to me, got out and offered to change my tire. Being no fool, I let them. I must have looked pitiful, perplexed, inept, feeble or all of those things. They changed the tire faster than I found the jack handle. The man worked in the tire business and it was evident that he was a pro. She was no slouch either. Once the task had been completed, I tried to pay them for their kindness. They declined my offer. They thanked me for writing this column, said to pay it forward and, like the Lone Ranger, were gone in a cloud of dust.

Nature notes

Mosquito adult males live about two weeks, females a couple of months. The majority serve as food for birds, dragonflies and spiders or are killed by weather. Species having a single generation each year or hibernating as adults are longer-lived.

Meeting adjourned

A monument at Kilbourn Public Library in Wisconsin Dells reads, “Dedicated to Minnie Drinker Snider and Fred B. Snider. Like a cup of cold water to fevered lips is a cheerful, unselfish life in this busy world. To two such lives, which found happiness in kindness to every living creature, this memorial is a tribute.”