Al Batt: Fathers give advice whether they’re asked or not

Published 7:58 am Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Echoes From the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I had to mow the lawn today. I hate mowing the lawn.

  Was the grass getting too tall?

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No, I had to mow the lawn because I found the lawn mower. I have to find a better hiding place for it.

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: The driver ahead of me appeared to be texting. There was a bit of swerve to her travel. It made me long for the good old days when people drove around while typing on manual typewriters. That was back in the day before we had check engine lights to let us know that the check engine lights are working. Maybe the driver ahead of me was searching online for a place that could turn off her check engine light?

To every season

The tomato plants are showing promise.

That means that it’s time for graduation parties.

It’s good to be occupied. I enjoy celebrating a youth’s accomplishments as both the graduates and their achievements grew so fast. Today’s youngsters are amazing, but each graduate is still like a fawn finding steady legs. I eat, talk and congratulate. What could be better?

I enjoy seeing the shrines built for each graduate. Photos, trophies, certificates, clothing and whatever other goodies highlight a school career.

I wish each one the best. I tell him or her that they are lucky and I hope they become even luckier.

Times have changed. That’s what times do. When I graduated, people congratulated my parents, who demonstrated obvious signs of relief.

I hope it doesn’t become a longstanding tradition

I spoke at a gathering for 30 minutes. It was my first talk I’d given since I discovered that I had a serious health concern. I’d lost a lot of weight and was worried that I might not have enough stamina to stand that long. I shouldn’t have worried about that. What I should have been worried about was standing that long without my pants falling down.

Father’s Day

The man’s prayer on the “Red Green Show” went like this, “I’m a man, but I can change, if I have to, I guess.”

 My father used to say, “My father used to say…”

 I say, “My father used to say…”

 Like father, like son.

My father gave advice. That’s what fathers do whether we’re asked or not. Dad said, “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy” and “Never do anything once around the house that you don’t want to do for the rest of your life.”

I visited a local nursing home. A woman there called me, “George.”

George was my father. I didn’t correct her.

She realized her mistake and apologized.

I told her that there was no need to apologize. I considered it an upgrade.

Nature notes

My wife asked me politely to shut up and listen. She had been rocking to the crazy tunes, listening to the morning download of live birdsongs in our yard. What she wanted me to hear was the sound of a cuckoo. Yellow-billed cuckoos are known as a rain crow because some as their calls are thought to be predictions of rain. They have a primal-sounding, croaking call often given in response to loud noises such as thunder. The call is a slow, hollow-sounding “ka-ka-ka-ka-ka-kow-kow-kowlp-kowlp-kowlp-kowlp.”

I noticed something and you may have, too. There were small masses of frothy spit, usually at a leaf node, on various plants. These white foam structures are produced by the nymphs of spittlebugs (also called froghoppers), which are tiny insects related to aphids and other true bugs. The meadow spittlebug is a common species in the Midwest.

On the road, a young red-tailed hawk and a turkey vulture took turns feeding on a road-killed raccoon.

A Baltimore oriole fought his image in the window of our house as a gray catbird watched from a nearby perch. Was the catbird an enabler? A cheerleader? Likely it was just curious.

Baby starlings, a dull, grayish brown in color, make noises that seem to be without end. A mother fox squirrel brought three babies to forage under a bird feeder. The youngsters sampled everything (even trying to eat pieces of dried bark), chased their own tails, fought, cavorted and were frightened by a chipmunk.

Nature provides multitudes of mysteries and endless entertainment free for the looking.

Meeting adjourned

“If you want your children to improve, let them overhear the nice things you say about them to others.” —  Haim G. Ginott