Al Batt: They serve mighty fine fodder there

Published 8:17 am Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

  I’d hate to be in your shoes.

  What makes you say that?

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  You take a size 9. I wear size 13.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

  I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his driveway, thoughts occur to me, such as: I’d been on the road a lot. I’d seen so many license plates that weren’t from Minnesota that I’d concluded that we have 49 states where nobody living in them wants to stay there.

I realize that travel is necessary. I do a considerable amount of it.

Maybe the out-of-state plates had brought mourners to funerals. A friend told me this story of when one of her loved ones had died. The deceased had had a reputation of being difficult to work with. That was because she was most always right. Those kind of people are challenging to others. At the funeral, the preacher said the dearly departed was one of those 50/50 people. Fifty percent didn’t like her and 50 percent did. Later, at the gravesite, a mourner whispered to a family member, “I’d say it’s more like 80/20.”

The cafe chronicles

My wife and I joined good friends in dining at The Amboy Cottage Cafe ideally situated in Amboy. It’s an annual tradition and they serve mighty fine fodder there. Many mugs with customers’ names on them are perched on the walls of that eatery. Frequent patrons use personalized cups for their beverages. I tried to pick out the left-handed mugs, but found it too taxing. The one that caught my eye was for Backhoe Bill. I don’t know Backhoe Bill, but I’ll bet he is someone worth knowing.

  I washed my hands well before eating. It wasn’t so much out of fear of contracting the flu or other diseases as it was out of habit. When I was a boy, we had the three-second rule. Any food dropped to the floor could still be consumed as long as it was picked up within three seconds and blown upon. The time expanded to five seconds for sugar cookies and other favored sweets. Despite this rule, I still washed my hands thoroughly before ingesting any foodstuffs.

  The food at The Amboy Cottage Cafe would have been delicious whether I’d eaten it with clean hands or not. I didn’t need to apply the three-second rule even once.

Things that made me go “Hmmmm”

  Growth states are calculated by the net gain of one-way U-Haul truck rentals entering a state versus those leaving that state during a year. Texas was the number one growth state for the second year in a row, followed by Florida, Arkansas, South Carolina and Tennessee.

  I jabbered away on the headset, doing my bit on the TV coverage of a basketball game in which a high school junior granddaughter, Joey, poured in her 1,500th point. I tried to remain calm and collected in my TV commentary, but I was as happy as a lottery winner who’d found the winning ticket. I wondered how many practice shots she’d taken for each time she twinkled the twine in a game.   

  I love books. I love newspapers. I love to read. I stay in touch with the written word and I’ve traveled in words. I want to visit the Strand Book Store in New York City, which advertises having 18 miles of books. It carries over 2.5 million books. It sounds enchanting.

Nature notes

  I walked like a penguin to avoid slipping on the ice. I leaned my torso forward so that my center of gravity was on my front leg. Walking normally splits body weight evenly over both legs, which increases the risk of losing my balance and falling.

  As I moved from ice to snow, my shoes made squeaking sounds. When temperatures are low, there is more friction between snow crystals. When I stepped on the snow, the crystals rubbed against each other and broke, making a squeaking sound. At 14 degrees and lower is when the snow becomes squeaky.

  Unlike snow, mice squeak at all temperatures except for Mighty Mouse, whose real name is Mike Mouse, who sings instead. “Mister Trouble never hangs around. When he hears this Mighty sound. Here I come to save the day. That means that Mighty Mouse is on his way.”

  Mighty Mouse rescues those who fall on the ice in Mouseville. Unless you live in Mouseville, please be careful in your winter walking.

Meeting adjourned

  “Today I bent the truth to be kind, and I have no regret, for I am far surer of what is kind than I am of what is true.” —Robert Brault