Al Batt: ‘All the perfect me are already married’

Published 10:29 am Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Echoes From the Loafers’ Club Meeting

The last thing I ever want to do is to say something bad about you.

That’s good to know.

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But it’s still on my list of things to do.
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’m lost without my GPS. I had some repair work done. Then I received a survey to complete. I responded that I was happy with everything except the homework. I bought some kale the other day. My wife was proud of me. Until she discovered that the store clerk had mistakenly put jelly doughnuts in my bag instead of the kale.
Dear Santa, It wasn’t my fault

I heard Gayla Peevey sing, “I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas,” a hit song in 1953. I heard it as a cellphone ringtone rendition.

I wanted to get my wife a framed photograph of John Steinbeck, a writer I favor. The frame would have been used, cheap and battered. My wife likes many writers, but Steinbeck isn’t one of her favorites. Why would I give my wife a photo of Steinbeck? I figure that she’d dislike the gift so much, that each time she looked at it, she’d think of me. To be thought of along with Steinbeck is this writer’s dream.

I gave her a jigsaw puzzle for Christmas instead. I’ve forgotten what it had been before I dropped it.
Tales from ringing the bells

Bryan Willmert of Albert Lea and I were talking in a supermarket, when Bryan spotted a dime on the floor. Bryan is a tall guy. It was a long way to the floor. Bryan said that he should have tossed a dollar bill to the floor to make the trip worthwhile. I’m a tall guy, too, so I understood his comment. Bryan tossed the coin into the Salvation Army kettle.

It reminded me of an old story about a guy who had a dollar bill fall from his pants pocket into a hole in an outhouse. He threw his wallet down into the hole. He wasn’t going to reach down there for just a dollar.

Larry Crass of Hartland told me that he had the perfect gift for Gail and me. Salt and pepper shakers in the shapes of Salvation Army bells. But first, he needed to work on his new invention — an ear warmer for cellphones.

A woman went by with an empty shopping cart. Then she went by in the opposite direction with the cart still empty.

“Couldn’t find what you were looking for?” I asked, unable to shut up.

She replied, “I had the right coupons, but the wrong store.”

Keith Kuiters of Clarks Grove told me that when he was 58 years old, his doctor told him that he should lose weight. Keith said that he had added 40 pounds during the 40 years since his high school graduation. A pound a year. Keith told his doctor that he planned on losing one pound a year for the next 40 years.

The store was busy. One customer stepped on the back of the shoe of the person ahead of him, causing that shoe to leave the foot. I call that a flat tire.

We have an unmarried neighbor. He’s a great guy. My wife thinks that he is such a nice young man that he should have a wife. His mother and my wife were discussing this matter. They said that his problem was that he wanted the perfect woman and such a woman is hard to find. They agreed that the perfect man is impossible to find. Then they looked at me. I nodded before saying, “That’s because all the perfect men are already married.”

I talked to my good neighbor later. He told me that he’d just used his oven for the first time in 2016. He baked a squash in December. He’s a keeper.

Things were peachy until a foam snowflake, hanging high above me in the store, fell, hitting me in the head while I rang bells. I experienced concussion like symptoms. Confusion reigned. At least I thought it was a concussion until I realized that I feel that way at all times.
Nature notes

Red squirrels cut cones from conifer trees and cache them in storage areas called middens. The middens are formed over years of continuous storage and feeding activity.
Meeting adjourned

“Nothing can make our life, or the lives of other people, more beautiful than perpetual kindness.” — Leo Tolstoy