Al Batt: Ending up with a negative number of steps

Published 8:42 am Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

What kind of pie is that?

It’s rhubarb.

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How come it’s so long?

I couldn’t find any shorter rhubarb.

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: Hard chairs may keep me awake, but they cause my rear end to fall asleep. If the server holds a fire hose, the food will be hot and spicy. I put my wife’s Fitbit on the cat and ended up with a negative number of steps.

The café chronicles

The steaks here made me what I am today.

What’s that?

A vegetarian.

Sharpening pencils instead of listening to the radio

A friend from Ohio, Larry Richardson, told me that grade school was a struggle for him. When his parents asked his teacher what the problem was, they were told that Larry sharpened his pencils too much. Despite that, Larry has done well. He shared the fact that he’d crossed 323 different named waterways (rivers, streams or creeks) this year. He has 347,000 miles on his pickup truck and has never once turned on the radio. He probably has a pencil sharpener in the truck.

Team totems

It was good visiting with Mark Chicos at a farm show. I recalled the days when his family had a slow-pitch softball team. Every player on the team shared the Chicos name except one. His last name was Lust. He was a cousin.

That reminded me of a fastpitch softball game I played in Iowa. Our opponent’s starting lineup had eight players named Johnson. One position was manned by a fellow named Jorgenson, the pitcher’s son-in-law.

Neither of those teams had a mascot. I spoke in Freeport, Illinois, where the high school team’s nickname is the Pretzels. Centralia (Illinois) High School Orphans is the most unique mascot in the United States according to a USA Today sponsored competition. The Orphans beat out the Carbon (Price, Utah) Dinos, Chinook (Montana) Sugarbeeters, Key (Annapolis, Maryland) Obezags and the Kingswood Oxford (West Hartford, Connecticut) Wyverns for the top spot. I think the Gorlok is a worthy candidate for the award. Webster University’s school mascot is a mythical creature with the paws of a cheetah, the horns of a buffalo and the face of a Saint Bernard. The Gorlok embodies the highest standards of speed, agility, stamina, fairness and good conduct. The most popular mammal names for pro and college teams are in order: Tigers, Bulldogs, Wildcats, Lions, Bears and Cougars. There is only one team named the Cubs. The most common bird nicknames, again in order, are Eagles, followed by Hawks and Falcons. Yellow jackets and Hornets are the most popular insect mascots. U.C. Santa Cruz has an interesting nickname. The Banana Slugs. It’s inoffensive. It’s hard not to offend someone when picking a mascot. Speaking of totems, the Toronto Maple Leafs should be the Toronto Maple Leaves. If Hartland ever gets a professional team, I hope they name them the Grackles.

It was meant for me

I spoke at Kernel Days in Wells. It’s a delightful celebration. A bird flew over the crowd while I was speaking and pooped on a friend’s (Billy Chirpich of Wells) shirt.

Billy and I talked about a fellow we knew who’d lick his finger and use it to snub out his Camel cigarette before putting it into one of the many pockets of his bib overalls.

Billy doesn’t wear bib overalls. If he did, he’d have a pocket to put bird droppings into.

In Costa Rica

The preacher played the guitar and sang as a handful of us listened. The church was missing a wall or two and much of its roof. It had been a poor implement shed. A bird sang beautifully. As I left, I turned around and looked back. I’ve always liked people who look back when leaving.

Old Man McGinty

He placed his hand over his elderly cousin’s head and said, “I’ve known her since she was this high.”

She told stories from her youth. I asked her how she remembered so many things that happened 80 years ago.

“Who is going to call me a liar?” she replied.

Nature notes

Cherie Daniel of Minnesota Lake saw three adult Canada geese with 25 goslings. She wondered what their story was. Canada geese parents sometimes bring their goslings together in “creches” or “gang broods.” All the adults look after the goslings by sharing the babysitting duties. The geese do this brood amalgamation because the goslings are safer with more adults watching for danger.


Meeting adjourned

Be kind without measuring the cost.