Al Batt: Words to live by: Keep your heart beating

Published 10:03 am Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I’m trying to come up with a personal motto.

Good luck.

Do you have any words I could live by?

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I do. Keep your heart beating.

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: If you think you are above average, you’re about average. I was driving around with a multi-colored Asian lady beetle clinging tenaciously to the windshield of my bride’s vehicle. My wife’s car gets good mileage. Far surpassing my trusty jalopy. She’d like it to get even better mileage. She’d love to have to dip gas out of the tank to keep it from overflowing as she drives. She makes me tape my ears back when I get into the car in order to cut down on wind resistance. The car ahead of me was moving at the speed that fingernails grow. I shouldn’t have been surprised. He had warned me. The bumper sticker on his Buick read, “I’m retired. Go around me.”

Pretty good is pretty good

He’d led a life filled with action verbs.

Some of them had been replaced with doctor’s appointments and a hobble. He’d found that he had better luck walking under a ladder than climbing one.

When I asked him how he was doing, it reminded me of a John Prine song, in which he sang, “Pretty good. Not bad. Can’t complain.”

“How’s it going?” I asked.

“Not too bad.”

“That’s good,” I added.

“It sure is.”


My wife stalked the house, carrying her weapon of choice — a flyswatter. The fly that had been successful in eluding her landed on my Timex. She swatted him. I became agitated. I said, “You don’t do things like that! Not on my watch.”

Going to the zoo is like watching a standstill parade. Kind of.

I went to the big zoo. I wanted to see a hyena just for the laughs. I didn’t see one. The zoo was out of them.

I’m a lover of small towns. Small towns have run out of hyenas and are losing people, but that doesn’t mean that thrilling things aren’t happening in small towns. Things like the famous Standstill Parade that took place in Whalan, Minnesota on May 21. Since Whalan was considered too small for a parade, it was decided that the parade would stand still and the spectators would move. The units are placed in the middle of the street and on each side. Floats are parked and musicians perform while standing in place. None of the spectators need to watch the world go by.

I asked a friend, “How do you know when the parade is over?” His answer was succinct, “When the floats begin to move.”

What a delightful celebration of small-town life Whalan provides. The Standstill Parade should be made into a movie. It reminds me of a film about Welsh villagers titled, “The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill, but Came Down a Mountain.”

Ffynnon Garw was a village and it was the name of a mountain. When two English cartographers visited the area to measure it for a new map, they inadvertently challenged Fyfnnon Garw’s communal pride. The visitors insisted in following a classification system that required a mountain be at least 1,000 feet high. Sadly, the 984-foot Ffynnon Garw was just a hill. The villagers refused to accept that judgment. They hatched a plan to heighten the hill by hauling buckets of dirt to the top.

I love small towns because the residents are willing to keep on hauling.

The latest weather report

“What do you think the weather will be like today?” a loved one asked as we stepped outside into the rain.

“You’re looking at it,” I replied.

“I watched The Weather Channel and it said that the weather was going to be beautiful today,” she said.

“That’s easy to explain,” I said in return. “All the good parts were in the trailer.”

Nature notes

Non-breeding adult Canada geese and those that have lost nests early begin their annual molt migration to preferred molting areas in the north typically by early June. This frees brooding wetlands for breeding adults and their goslings. By the first weeks of July, Canada geese molt. Adults lose their flight feathers. No goose is able fly during this time. In September and October, the molt migration geese return from their seasonal journey and are seen flying in all directions.

Meeting adjourned

Mother Teresa said, “Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.”

Be kind.