Al Batt: There was no margarine for error

Published 10:15 am Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I can’t think of the kind of dog my brother owns. It has long, thick, white fur.


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No, it just drools.

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: I keep an eye out for deer on the road. Deer are like evil, flying monkeys except for the evil, flying and monkey parts. A deer is the Evel Knievel of the ungulate set. Deer should cross roads only where the sign says “Deer Crossing,” but you can’t trust deer. There is always one animal that thinks it knows a shortcut. Deer aren’t readers. That’s why they don’t even swerve when encountering a Dodge.

The cafe chronicles

The Knights of the Bent Fork had gathered at an eatery where the food was guaranteed to be 100 percent not pizza.

“Things are tough all over. Especially these steaks here. If I’m going to die from something, it might as well be from trying to cut one of your steaks,” said one Knight.

“We don’t serve everything from soup to nuts. We serve soup to nuts,” said the waitress in defense.

The food was good. They used real butter on the bread. There was no margarine for error here.

Life rides a fast horse

I was in the store. My wife had already taken off with her list, leaving me far behind. She was on a mission.

I was looking for duct tape. I like to surprise my wife by repairing something. It’s a surprise whenever I can do that. I’m a jack of all thumbs. I once had a subscription to a woodworking magazine. One of the issues of that magazine was of particular help. I put it under the leg of a wobbly table. That fixed it.

I must have appeared lost. A woman asked, “What would your wife say if she lost you?”

“I imagine it would be, ‘Finders keepers.’”

She added, “Your wife has told me so much about you.”

I replied, “A lot of that wasn’t my fault.”

They were out of duct tape. There are a lot of do-it-yourselfers out there.

My brother rests in style

Hospitals make some visitors uneasy. Nursing homes have the same affect on others. Yet, most of those people find cemeteries restful. A cemetery offers a perspective that is comforting to the living. I visit graveyards regularly. Why not? The dead have paid the admission fees for my visits. I sat on a bench at his gravesite and, accompanied by the whoosh of a wind turbine, I talked with my dead brother. I miss him. A cicada called, a chipping sparrow trilled, horned larks and song sparrows sang. A clouded sulphur butterfly landed on the grave. There is life in the cemetery. Some of it has wings. Some of it lives in my memories.

Poison Irving would be worse

I’ve lived around poison ivy all of my life. I don’t think about it often. On my radar screen of worries, it’s not even a blip. I grew up hearing an abundance of warnings. Leaves of three, Let it be. Berries white, run in fright. Fingers three, turn and flee. Leaves three, quickly flee. Hairy vine, no friend of mine. One, two, three, don’t touch me. Berries white, danger in sight. Berries white, poisonous sight; berries red, have no dread. Poison ivy has three leaflets and the benign Virginia creeper has five. The former has white berries, the latter purple.

These were all good warnings. As a boy, I and the other boys in my posse would advise, “Leaves of three, good T.P.”

That was bad advice. Very bad advice.

Ask Al

“What’s the first thing you do when you start a major repair project?” I oil the rusty hinges on the toolbox so I can pry it open.

“Were you in a Fourth of July parade and was there a large crowd there?” I was part of a horse costume in the parade. I don’t know anything about the size of the crowd. I was in that half of the horse that couldn’t see anything.

“When geese fly in a V-formation, why is one side longer than the other?” It’s because there are more geese on one side than on the other. There are so many geese around here that they fly in an M-formation.

Nature notes

“Are golden eagles bigger than bald eagles?” They are the same size.

Meeting adjourned

Everyone has mountains that must be climbed. A kind word helps the ascent.