Take the doctor’s advice with a grain of salt

Published 9:26 am Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

My doctor says I’m supposed to cut down on sodium.

Are you going to?

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I take his advice with a grain of salt.

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: Doing the same thing over and over while expecting different results is called a job. Everyone is a good listener when you talk about them.

The cafe chronicles

We gathered at The Willows, a swell restaurant in New Richland. I glanced at the menu and decided to order the beef commercial. You can’t go wrong with a beef commercial. It’s always good and reasonably priced. Just as I’d made up my mind, my brother-in-law, Reid Nelson from Sheboygan, said that he was going to pick up the bill. I ordered the barbecued ribs dinner instead of a beef commercial. My Mama didn’t raise no dummy.

Imagine that

I watched little kids jump over lawn sprinklers on a sweltering hot afternoon.

Back in the days when I had to wind the rooster before going to bed and it was my job to swing a 5-gallon pail in the yard until it was full of mosquitoes (I got paid a bounty per pound), I didn’t have lawn sprinklers or air conditioning for comfort. I had the warm water of the creek, cool thoughts and a dairy barn. I did things to take my mind off the heat. I opened a Monkey Wards catalog and picked one item from the two pages on display and explained why I wanted it. I’d turn the page and repeat the process. Price was no object, but choosing something on the underwear pages was challenging. Far from a mindless activity, it fostered the imagination.

When milking the cows alone, I did the play-by-play of a baseball game. Sometimes I had the company of a make-believe color commentator, who was a bit of an airhead, and other times I worked alone. The teams were real and imagined.

Ronald Reagan’s WHO radio days in Des Moines included delivering “play-by-play broadcasts” of Chicago Cubs baseball games he wasn’t watching. His descriptions were based solely upon telegraphed accounts of games.

Perhaps he imagined being president one day.

A Siberian Cheesehound 

We were walking the grounds of Reiman Gardens in Ames, Iowa. It’s the home of a remarkable butterfly room. There were giant Lego sculptures of a dragonfly, butterfly, peacock, deer, etc. We strolled by a pond and an angry red-winged blackbird, incensed that my wife had gotten near his nest, flew down and hit her head, but he didn’t call her a Siberian Cheesehound.

Rodney Hatle of Owatonna told me that when he was a boy, a neighbor called him a Siberian Cheesehound. It hadn’t been uttered in a complimentary manner. That moniker had a familiar ring. I’ve had a lifelong interest in the funny pages (newspaper comics). “Boob McNutt” was a comic strip by Rube Goldberg that ran from 1915 to 1934. Boob was advertised as “A fellow with a good heart, but a little skimpy in the bean.” The supporting characters included the twins Mike and Ike, they look alike, and Boob’s outspoken Siberian Cheesehound, Bertha.

Not all milkweeds are named Bob

My wife and I attended a flower show and voted for favorites. I wanted to vote for everyone, so if someone didn’t win, it wouldn’t be my fault.

We were given a swamp milkweed. It’s a host plant for monarch butterfly caterpillars. My wife named the plant Bob. We took Bob for a walk.

Speaking of Bob, Bob Frisk is a highly recognized and oft-honored member of the Loafers’ Club chapter in New Richland. Bob told me that a recent table topic of that august group was that one of the first signs of creeping senility is the inability to smell peanut butter. The Loafers’ Club has nothing to worry about. They’ve stopped smelling peanut butter.

Nature notes

Mary Evans of Albert Lea hung a birdhouse on one side of a shepherd’s hook and a bird feeder on the other side. She told me that house wrens nested in the house, but no birds visited the feeder. House wrens are known for their beautiful singing voices and aggressive behavior, even towards much larger birds. It’s not uncommon for wrens to chase other birds away from a nest area and to puncture the eggs of other birds.

Meeting adjourned

“Make every day your masterpiece” was on the wall of a Books-A-Million store in Ames. A kind word turns a day into a classic.