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Al Batt: Belated Merry Christmas

Echoes From the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I just had a complete physical.

How did that go?

The doctor said that my weight is perfect, but I’m three feet shorter than I should be.

Driving by Bruce’s

I had two wonderful neighbors — both named Bruce — who lived across the road from each other. Now we’re down to one Bruce. Whenever I pass his driveway, thoughts occur to me, such as: There should be belated Christmas cards. I checked the card racks and couldn’t find any. They would be perfect for those cards we receive after Christmas that had been mailed before Christmas. They could have a tender message like, “I’d completely forgotten about you until I got your card. I hope you had a merry Christmas.”

I’m a certified ding-a-ling

I was ringing bells for the Salvation Army on December 19 when a woman told me that I was the best ding-a-ling she’d encountered manning a kettle. I took it as a compliment.

After ringing, I decided to get something to eat. I ordered a salad buffet. I grabbed a bowl of chili. A restaurant worker approached. She wasn’t like the Soup Nazi on the sitcom “Seinfeld,” who was known for saying “No soup for you!” to anyone who displeased him, but she told me that soup wasn’t included with the salad bar. I thought it was. She told me I was wrong. She did so politely. I apologized for my ignorance. It’s easy for me to do stupid things. I’m a guy. Being stupid comes natural. I have a special kind of stupid.

I visited with a relative who told me that he’d been busy making sawdust in his workshop. I listened with interest, as I’d taken a wood-butchering class in school.

Denny Olson of Albert Lea told me an interesting tale at this time of conspicuous consumption. He knew a fellow who bought a new Buick every two years. Each car was the same color. The common color was in the hopes that no one would notice he’d bought a new car. It was inconspicuous consumption.

Denny mentioned a favorite movie. He and I grew up in a time when the movie “The Wizard of Oz” was must-see TV. It’s a wonderful film about characters searching for a brain, a heart and courage. You can’t get those from Amazon. I wish you all three in the new year.

A friend greeted me and then grabbed his bags from his shopping cart as he left the store. He left one bag in the cart. I hollered at him and he retrieved the forgotten bag. It was my good deed for the year. I’d just made it under the wire.

I rang the bells again on December 23. There were so many shopping carts moving about the store, that I feared it would become a demolition derby. Fortunately, every cart missed me. The day was as most are on that date — cold. A number of shoppers wore shorts. These shoppers were men. That’s no surprise to anyone. Those wearing shorts were happy campers. One told me that he’d broken out the shorts because the winter solstice had occurred. The solstice happened on December 21, the shortest day of the year. He reasoned that shorts were proper attire because the days were getting longer. That made me smile. I recalled O. Henry, in “The Gift of the Magi,” saying, ”Life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.”

Life has its ups and downs. Sobs are used in times of great tribulations, sniffles are appropriate for more trivial matters not worthy of sobs and smiles are when we’re happy.  I wish you a happy New Year, devoid of sobs with limited sniffles and miles of smiles. May every day be good enough for company.

Nature notes

A synchronized flying team flew overhead while I was in Rochester, a city known for its Canada geese. The geese were doing their morning commute.

The side of the road featured juncos eating a diet of junco food.

I’d pulled into a restaurant parking lot and shut down the car when I noticed a crow with a plastic cup of chocolate pudding. It was enjoying the tasty treat. There were a good number of crows raiding the dumpsters for their morning snacks.

I said “Bon appetit, corvids” to the birds as I walked to the eatery.

They replied in crowese, but this is what I think they said, “Have a nice time eating indoors. We’ll be out here pooping on your car.”

Meeting adjourned

“Kindness is like snow —it beautifies everything it covers.”–Khalil Gibran