Eating healthy is more than refusing to supersize a meal

Published 9:10 am Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Echoes From the Loafers’ Club Meeting

Happy birthday. How old are you now?

I’m not sure.

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You don’t know how old you are?

I used to, but I’m older than that now.

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 realize that eating healthy is more than refusing to supersize a meal. I try to eat good foods. I had a rusted mainspring. I’d caught a cold. I’d been washing my hands so much that their bones had started to show through. I suppose that I hadn’t been eating enough kale.

Playing softball while fueled by bad pears

We played softball in a pasture. It was a wonderful activity. It taught us to make do with bats nailed together and softballs clutched by tape. Gloves were shared, as were victories and defeats. The bases were cobbled together from what was available. First base was a sow thistle, second base was a dried cow pie, third was someone’s younger brother and home plate was an anthill filled with angry fans.

Age and ability covered a large spectrum. It was a learning experience. We learned good and bad things.

As I sat on ground far from home plate, using a broken shoestring to repair my fifth-hand glove, a couple of older boys convinced me that they knew of some pears that needed to be stolen. They told me that the owner of the pear tree didn’t eat them and that he was a cranky old codger. I figured he was cranky because someone was stealing his pears, but I joined in the mischief making anyway. Boys are nearly always waiting for an opportunity to be led astray. The purloined pears proved unworthy of swiping. They were dreadful. Pears have interesting lives. Pears are too hard. Then they have a 10-minute window when they are delicious before becoming too soft. A stolen pear adds a taste of regret.

Austin, Texas

Work took me to Austin, Texas. On the way there, I thought about “Austin City Limits,” a music show on PBS with Gary P. Nunn’s “London Homesick Blues” as its theme song. “I wanna go home with the armadillo. Good country music from Amarillo and Abilene. The friendliest people and the prettiest women you’ve ever seen.”

Inspired by Ferris Bueller who said. “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it,” I went to the Congress Avenue Bridge that spans Lady Bird Lake in downtown Austin. That bridge is home to the largest urban bat colony in North America. It provides an opportunity to see hundreds of thousands of Mexican free-tailed bats take flight. It’s a nightly experience of world-class nature viewing. As someone who can get lost in a revolving door, I admired the hurried, but orderly departure of the bats from under the bridge. It was both compelling and nearly never-ending. If it hasn’t been done, someone needs to write a song about the bats of Austin.

Nature notes

There was a silence between prayer and song as I sat at a funeral. The dearly departed was a good guy who died too young. The hush was broken by the call of a Eurasian collared-dove, an oft-repeated “koo-KOO-kook.” I found it comforting. The dove abides.

My wife and I were in the car when three deer ran across the road in front of us. A crow was following them. I suspect the crow was herding them to a busy highway into the path of a large truck. That would result in dinner served for a hungry crow. Fast food.

I led a bird walk. As I marveled at how the binoculars turned the unfamiliar into the familiar, we saw things. Miles of red-winged blackbirds, yards of dark-eyed juncos and a few feet of fox sparrows made for smiles of binocular toters.

I sacked up recycling — newspapers and garden catalogs. People who think they are in charge, should plant a garden. There are things that conspire against a garden. If I don’t whine about the winter, I get lemon-colored goldfinches to delight me in the spring. Sandhill cranes’ echoing calls bugled across the fields. Canada geese, having a communal cow, sounded like angry callers to talk radio. Spring had announced itself.

Meeting adjourned

My mother was a nomad. She didn’t travel. She was a nomad because she never became angry. If someone dislikes you, you gain nothing by making it mutual. Be kind.