Al Batt: ‘No one ever died while eating here’

Published 9:41 am Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I’d have pitched in the major leagues if it hadn’t been for one thing.

What was that?

I couldn’t pitch.

Driving by the Bruces

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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: A man’s maturity level is never level. Time was invented to keep everything from happening at once and to sell batteries. I’ve put “never run a marathon” at the top of my bucket list.

The cafe chronicles

“As the Cowardly Lion said as the snow fell upon the poppy field, ‘Unusual weather we’re having, isn’t it?’” I said in greeting to the curmudgeonly collection.

“How did you find the cafe? Did you follow the flies?” asked a gentleman at the table of infinite knowledge as he enjoyed a slice of sharp cheddar cheese on his apple pie.

“Don’t listen to him,” advised the waitress. “No one ever died while eating here.”

Kicking a skunk in memory of Barry Goldwater

We lived on the edge of town, just outside the city limits, so we had no choice but to raise chickens. In the middle of the night, I was rousted from my bed by a fuss in the chicken arena. Oh, the complexities of chicken ranching. I rushed out the door to discover a skunk in pursuit of the chicks. Words failed me, so I gave the stinker a good swift kick with my barefoot. It must have hurt him as much as it did me as the skunk left the scene. I was full of regret until my big toe stopped throbbing.

I felt like Barry Goldwater. In the 1964 presidential campaign, Goldwater used the slogan “In your heart, you know he’s right.”The Lyndon Johnson campaign countered with this about Goldwater, “In your guts, you know he’s nuts.”

I was both right and nuts.

A traveling man

I spotted this sign in the Wisconsin Dells, “Wisconsin Opry.” I thought of possible songs that would be sung there. “Your cheesin’ heart” and “I didn’t think I’d ever get over you until I bought a four-wheel-drive truck” were the first to arrive. I passed on the Opry and visited a store to see if I could locate some postcards. They can be hard to find. The shop had no postcards, but offered chocolate-dipped orange peels and Old Guys wristwatches. They needn’t bothered to label the watches. If you are a man and you’re wearing a wristwatch, you’re an old guy. I continued my search. As I drove past the Castle of Error (the “T” had fallen off), I was behind a Jeep Compass. I wondered if it ever became lost. I stayed in a hotel room so small that I needed to go into the hallway in order to change my mind.

I had a wonderful time.

Hartland news

Bagpipes player dies. Town tries to mourn.

Entrepreneur turns waterfalls into a natural car wash.

The late druggist was the piller of the community.

Holstein cows are mimics. They can do an excellent Jersey or Guernsey, but not a Brown Swiss. But who can impersonate a Brown Swiss?

Ask Al

“What would I hear if I held a snail shell to my ear?” The sound of a snail sweating.

“Could you tell us a little bit about yourself?” I’d be happy to. Yourself is a reflexive form of you that is used as the direct or indirect object of a verb or the object of a preposition.


The discussion was about friends who had reached impressive milestones in the numbers of columns written. I couldn’t be prouder of those good folks. I was asked how many I’d written. I had no clue. I’m a birder. I used to know exactly how many birds I’d seen. I wanted to see 300 species in Minnesota and 600 in North America. I did that. I saw them and quit counting, but I’m still looking. My writing career has lasted far longer than that of the average NFL player, so it’s difficult to give an accurate number of columns penned. All I could reckon was that during just the last 10 years, I’ve written well over 2000. Uffda! I need a nap.

Nature notes

“Can Canada geese dive?” Even though they don’t wear goggles, but I do see goslings dive. The adults do so rarely, but they are capable of diving when threatened.

It was my pleasure to tell stories and lead a birding expedition at the Hormel Nature Center. I’m thankful for those attending and for retiring director Larry Dolphin. Larry has made the world a better place.

Meeting adjourned

Preachers save souls. Doctors save lives. A kind word saves dignity.