Al Batt: Brace for the cold, embrace the warmth

Published 7:56 am Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

  I just got a new hearing aid? It was on sale.

  What kind is it?

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  Ten minutes to eight.

Driving by Bruce’s

  I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his driveway, thoughts occur to me, such as: I’d been driving on recovering roads. We’d been hit by a winter storm watch/warning/weather event. Watch? It must have been a winter storm grandfather clock. It was the opposite of and more uncomfortable than the steamy Dog Days of summer. We received somewhere between 13 and 40 inches of snow. We don’t deserve bad weather or good weather, but a snow day was officially my favorite when I was in school. I didn’t mind not riding on a school bus due to my jealousy of the Elite Platinum members who boarded first. The snow left me feeling a bit peckish for hot dishes. If I were to open a restaurant, I’d name it, “Wherever Whatever.” It would be a busy place if many couples are like my wife and me. I ask, “Where would you like to eat?”

  She answers, “Wherever.” She tosses a question back at me, “What are you hungry for?”

  I answer the traditional way, “Whatever.”

  Does this routine happen often? Does the History Channel repeat itself?

My Swiss Army Knife was unavailable

  I brushed my teeth early in the morning. I was multitasking. Brushing my teeth while attempting to put the cap back onto the tube of toothpaste. I dropped the cap. It bounced off the counter and landed right in the sink’s drain. It was a pitch shot that would have made Tiger Woods proud. My wife came to the rescue like the cavalry carrying a thin, long-bladed knife that I didn’t know we owned. A young member of the family had a brief career as a knife salesman. Part of his sales pitch was that there was a knife for everything. He might have been right. Obviously, there is a knife to get a toothpaste tube cap out of a sink drain.

Fighting cancer with fun

  I attended the Cancer Auction in Geneva as I do each year. The venue, Geneva Bar & Grill, was loud and packed. If anything that has to do with cancer could be festive, this was it.

  I was determined to stand. I thought others needed seats more than I did. I stubbornly declined the kind offers of a seat from countless folks.

  I encountered many friends and renewed old acquaintances. Far more compliments than complaints were exchanged. I spoke with so many cancer survivors, it left me verklempt. These are people who have had many thumbs on the scales. Verklempt is a useful word of Yiddish origin meaning overcome with emotion. It caused me to hug more than necessary (some folks think that no hug is ever necessary) and to shake the same hands repeatedly.

  My wife and I were winning bidders of a plate of chocolate chip cookies during the auction. It was a great purchase for her, as I don’t eat chocolate. As expected, we paid enough that if all chocolate chip cookies sold for that price, we’d all be in the business of baking and selling chocolate chip cookies.

  I appreciate the good work and the generosity of the fine people there. That dread disease is somewhat like winter. We brace for the cold and embrace the warmth.

Nature notes

  A fox barked in my yard. The animal woke me with its sounds. For some odd reason, it gave me goose bumps. They are also called goose pimples or goose flesh, appearing on our skin when we’re cold or frightened. Bumps appear at the base of body hair making it stand up straight. The reflex of producing goose bumps is known as horripilation. The term “goose bumps” likely came from an appearance similar to a plucked goose. Other parts of the world call it hen or chicken flesh and duck or bird skin.

  A few snowflakes fell along the edges of the moonlight. Mary Oliver wrote, “Snow was falling, so much like stars filling the dark trees.”

  I’d be leaving the house in a few hours. Winter here means that proper thought has to be given to clothing choices. There is an old Scandinavian saying, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes.”

  Not only old Scandinavians say this. It’s usually uttered by some smug individual who remembered to wear socks outside in January. My response to this is usually, “How do you dress for a tornado.”

Meeting adjourned

  “Don’t wait for people to be friendly, show them how.”

—Henry James