• 19°

‘Most of the snow falls in the middle of the streets’

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I just found out I’m color blind.

Did you suspect it?

No, the eye doctor’s diagnosis came completely out of the green.

Driving by Bruce’s

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his driveway, thoughts occur to me, such as: There was a row of snow piled high down the center of main street. It’s a little known fact that most of the snow falls in the middle of the streets.

The man who had been just ahead of me in the checkout line said that he was buying some greeting cards at his wife’s request. He seemed competent and confident. As he began the process of taking ownership of the cards by paying for them, the cashier said, “I’ll bet your wife would want the envelopes that go with them, too.”

Have a good day

I’ve had some surgeries recently.

I read part of a book each night before falling asleep. I try to read a pleasant passage before Morpheus overcomes me in the hopes it will lead to pleasant dreams.

The other night, that approach didn’t work. I dreamed about having surgery. In the dream, I met the surgeon just before the operation.

“I suppose you’ve done this operation many times?” I asked.

“No,” he said, “but I’ve always wanted to try it.”

It was a nightmare that brought a smile to my dream world.

The next day, I told Chuck Stephens of Albert Lea to have a good day. It’s a traditional wish and I was sincere.

“I might as well,” said Chuck. “It doesn’t cost any more than the other kind.”

Wise words, both from an attitudinal and a financial perspective.

A friend complained about the weather. That is a perfectly good use of time. Complaining about the weather keeps us from complaining about other things. And it doesn’t hurt the weather’s feelings one bit.

I wish you a good day filled with compliments and lacking complaints.

A winning streak comes to an end

I’ve spent a lot of time in hotels for work. I get only one key from the hotel clerk, unless my wife is with me. I’d never lost a key (real or plastic) or needed to ask for a second key until one day. On that day, I’d checked in and placed my bag inside the door of my room. For some moronic reason, I’d placed my room key on top of the bag. I’d just done that when a friend greeted me from the hallway. I turned to shake his hand. It was good to see him and we both got to watch my hotel door close and lock, with my key safely inside the room.

I was back at the hotel’s front desk within five minutes after checking in, to ask for another key.

Why is that red barn red?

I photographed an old red barn that would soon fall into a heap. Why are old barns usually red in color?

Many years ago, farmers sealed barns with a recipe of linseed oil, (derived from flax seeds), milk, lime or ferrous oxide (rust). Rust killed fungi and mosses, and was an effective sealant. The mixture was red in color. Future barns were painted red to honor tradition. Scandinavian farmers painted their properties in rusty hues so they appeared to be made of brick, a sign of wealth. Those were the stories I’d heard while growing up. I asked my father why barns were red. He told me it was because red paint was cheap. If you painted the barn another color, people might think you had too much money.

Nature notes

“What is a good way to identify birds?” Size can be difficult to determine in the field, especially in poor light or at a distance. Size comparisons are easiest when an unidentified bird is seen near a familiar species. Otherwise, use the sizes of well-known birds, such as the house sparrow, American robin and American crow as references to determine size. Pay attention to body and tail shapes, the proportions of head, legs and wings, and the length and shape of the bill. Notice field marks patterns and colors. Consider the habitat where the bird was seen. Take notes. Take a photo. Draw the bird. Record the bird’s song if possible. Do these things promptly as the memory of a human is fleeting. Then search for the bird in your favorite field guide. Pay particular attention to range maps.

Meeting adjourned

“Be tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, tolerant of the weak, because someday in your life you will be all of these.”

—George Washington Carver