Al Batt: Reading the Waffle House forecast

Published 8:13 am Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Echoes From the Loafers’ Club Meeting

Remember when we were teenagers?


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We thought we could change the world.


Now I’m lucky if I remember to change the oil in my car.

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 was a tour guide on a train. I love traveling by train. I’d hand out a sheet of paper containing the lyrics to one of my favorite songs, “What a Wonderful World” by Louis Armstrong.

“I see trees of green, red roses, too. I see them bloom for me and you. And I think to myself what a wonderful world. I see skies of blue and clouds of white. The bright blessed day, the dark sacred night. And I think to myself what a wonderful world. The colors of the rainbow so pretty in the sky. Are also on the faces of people going by. I see friends shaking hands saying how do you do. They’re really saying I love you. I hear babies crying, I watch them grow. They’ll learn much more than I’ll ever know. And I think to myself what a wonderful world. Yes, I think to myself what a wonderful world.”

I persuaded everyone to sing along. There was some reluctance, but they had no place to hide. I began singing. When they heard my solo, they lost all reluctance to sing. They found it was important to drown me out.

Ask Al

“Why are lawn gnomes so popular?” They are used to let people know when a lawn needs mowing. When you can’t see a gnome for the grass, it’s time to mow.

“What is the most dangerous animal?” Imaginary bears. You can’t see them coming.

“When you eat sweet corn on the cob, what do you put on it?” Butter, salt and drool.

“How did the Bunion Sufferers’ Marathon go?” Sadly, it had to be canceled due to a lack of interest.

The Prune Festival parade sets another speed record.

You look good, too

A friend that I hadn’t seen for a few years shook my hand and greeted me with, “You look good.”

He did it friendlily. That’s a word I’ve never used before, but I like the sound and looks of it. It means to do something in a friendly way.

He meant well and I should have taken it that way, but I had a flashback.

I remember accompanying my parents to wakes when I was a lad. We would shuffle past the open casket and my mother would say this about the dearly departed, “He looks good.”

One time, I said, “He looks dead.”

I was shushed.

The Waffle House

I was headed home after speaking at a thing in Louisiana.

I decided to have breakfast before driving to the airport.

I stopped at a Waffle House. I like the food this breakfast chain provides.

Craig Fugate, the former director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), invented the “Waffle House Index” as a way to assess a storm’s impact on an area. The Waffle House is famous for being open 24 hours a day, every day of the year. Fugate’s index says that if a Waffle House restaurant switches to a limited menu, that’s a bad sign. If the restaurant closes, it means conditions are dire.

It’s like blizzards at home. We tend to judge their severity by the actions of the local school. If it lets out early, that’s a bad sign. If it’s closed, we are under dire conditions.

As I chowed down, I was pleased that the menu was not limited and that the Waffle House showed no indication of closing.

Nature notes

A blue jay did a wonderful imitation of a broad-winged hawk’s call. I’ve heard jays do convincing renditions of red-tailed hawks, red-shouldered hawks and Cooper’s hawks. I watched a visiting sharp-shinned hawk chase a flicker and a starling. The hawk was a male, smaller than a female. This raptor was the size of a blue jay, compared to a red tailed hawk, which is the size of a football. No harm that I could see in either pursuit. I’m sure a few feathers were ruffled.

Giant ragweeds grew tall. Ragweeds cause fall allergies. Ragweed is in the genus Ambrosia, meaning food of the gods, which was believed to confer immortality.

Meeting adjourned

When someone you cherish becomes a memory, that memory becomes a treasure. Treat that person kindly before that happens.