The longest car ride ever

Published 8:39 am Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Echoes From the Loafers Club Meeting 

How is your yoga class going?

Yoga is no mountain for a high-stepper like me. All you need is a little athleticism and a lot of.

Email newsletter signup

A lot of what?


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: Have you ever been on a roof? If so, you should get a shingles shot. The election is over. It felt like the longest car ride I’d ever been on. It made me mutter in my peanut butter.

The cafe chronicle 

I stopped at Donna’s Cafe in Juneau, Alaska. I ordered the meatloaf special.

“It comes with mashed potatoes. Is that OK?” asked the waitress.

“The mashed potatoes are why I ordered the meatloaf,” I replied.

On the road again

I staggered from bed at 2:30 in the morning after too little sleep. If exhaustion were a status symbol, I’d have been an aristocrat. Fortunately, my car was within easy walking distance. I minded the traffic on the drive to the Twin Cities. I parked the car and boarded a shuttle to the airport. The terminal was an anthill. I made it through security and onto the plane. A cheerful flight attendant greeted me, “Watch your head. You have a nice head. You don’t want to dent it.”

She should have warned me years ago. There are many good tunes played on an old fiddle, but my head has more dents than brains.

As I waited for passengers attempting to stuff square suitcases into round holes, I read over the shoulder of a passenger reading newspaper comics.

“Do you mind?” I ask.

She didn’t and added, “It’s better than the headlines.”

A newspaper has been my lifelong, entertaining and informative companion.

On the road again, again

I scurried around like a mouse in a corncrib. About 70 percent of the planet was covered in water. The other 30 percent was made up of the cars traveling on the same highway as me. Everyone was in a hurry. I was one of them. I needed to be everywhere in 30 minutes. A hotel was holding clean sheets for me. Traffic moved at a speed far exceeding the glacial pace of the presidential campaign.

I was on my way to do a book signing at a Barnes & Noble store. It was August. The fog had lifted enough so that I could have seen the hood ornament, had my car had a hood ornament. For every fog in August, there is a snowfall in the winter. I never remember to count the fogs, so I don’t know how reliable that bit of folklore is. Some believe it, some don’t. It’s like the time that a group of us boys each got a wool stocking cap. To itch his own.

We get so busy, we get goofy. A friend was having a particularly busy day. While talking on her cellphone, she needed to check her calendar. What did she do? She searched for her cellphone while she talked on it.


As we sit completely covered in fun-sized candy wrappers, Halloween is just a memory and it’s time to get Girl Scout cookies. The top sellers are: Thin Mints, Caramel deLites/Samoas, Peanut Butter Patties/Tagalongs, Do-si-dos/Peanut Butter Sandwiches and Shortbread/Trefoils. Candy corn was known initially as chicken feed or butter creams. There is a Candy Corn Oreo. How long before there is a candy corn-flavored Girl Scout cookie? Ages, I hope.

Nature notes

Darwyn Olson of Hartland asked about the disappearance of cardinals from his yard. A predator, such as a Cooper’s hawk, could cause them to leave. They might have found better food sources elsewhere. Birds search for food and territories with less competition. They try new eateries just as we do. They exploit the food sources in one area and then relocate. Cardinals shift territories after breeding, moving in a phenomenon known as a post-breeding dispersal. A cardinal flock in the winter is a temporary aggregation made possible by weakened territorial instincts. Individuals in a flock seek the same foods and shelter. A flock provides more eyes to watch for food and predators. Research has found that flock size rises as temperature falls.

Meeting adjourned

Etienne Griellet said, “I expect to pass this way but once; any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”