Battling the squirrels at the birdfeeder

Published 7:38 am Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I hurt my knee.

Which one?

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I don’t remember.

How can you not remember which knee you hurt?

They both hurt.

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 filled my car with gas and was paying the cashier. She told me that cheeseburgers were only a dollar. I was feeling peckish and I had a dollar that I hadn’t spent. So I bought one. I told the cashier that it wasn’t for me, I was getting it as a gift. She asked if I were serious. I insisted I was. I said that the recipient of the gift had been a good wife and deserved nice things. And it wasn’t something she’d get for herself. The cashier smiled weakly, likely thinking I was an idiot on my father’s side, and told me that there were things to put on the cheeseburger. She described them as pickles and crap. I passed on those.

Cafe chronicles

It wasn’t a highfalutin place. It was an eatery where you didn’t need a reservation. According to the sign on the door, all you needed was a shirt and shoes to get service.

I sat next to a man who had once wanted his name on a building or a yacht, but had settled for having his name on the side of one of the cafe’s coffee mugs. Everybody is fighting a battle. His was with the squirrels at his birdfeeder. When the smiling waitress appeared, he told her that he liked his coffee as strong as the law allowed. I pictured the thick java  dripping from the coffee pot like oil draining from a truck during an oil change.

My mother made coffee so strong that when you drank it early in the morning, it woke the neighbors.

The cellphone didn’t ring, but it made a familiar sound

The caller asked if I’d be able to speak at a banquet his organization was having next year. I told him I needed to check my calendar. He responded, “I just need to know yeah or no or what.”

I knew what he meant. I thought. Or maybe not.

From the mailbag

Mark Christenson of Columbia Heights wrote, “I sure remember padiddle and slug bug and so do some of my former girlfriends. Most of them thought of padiddles as a cheap way of stealing a kiss. Also if you saw a car in front of you with one taillight burned out, that was called a ‘Cyclops.‘ I can’t remember the rewards or punishments for seeing a Cyclops.”

Ask Al

“Why do Americans have such big lawns?” To give them enough room to turn their lawn mowers around.

“Were you a large baby?” No. I was so small that after I was born, Doc Olds came into my mother’s hospital room with both his clenched fists extended and said, “Guess which hand.”

“Has your hometown always been small?” Yes. When I was a boy, everyone I knew slept under a quilt. You can’t get many people under a quilt.

“Why don’t you gamble?” It’s because my lucky number is 37,819.

In local news

A man attacked by an owl. It turned out that there had been a mouse living in his hat.

There was quite a brewhaha at the coffee shop.

Excavating company holds hole sale.

Nature’s World

“I saw a giant mosquito in my house in February. Is that a rare sighting?” It probably wasn’t a mosquito, but a related insect called the crane fly. Crane flies are common insects in Minnesota. They have slender brown or gray bodies and long legs. Crane flies range in size from three-eighths to 1 1/2 inches long. Despite resembling mosquitoes, crane flies don’t bite. They usually live only a few days. The source of the crane fly found indoors could be traced to houseplants that were outside at some point during the summer. Crane flies had laid eggs in the soil. The larvae finished their development indoors and emerged as adults. Crane flies are harmless.

“Why do starlings look so different in the spring? Do they molt in the winter?” When European starlings molt in the fall, the new feathers have white tips, giving the appearance of stars. Over the winter, friction, sunlight and weather dull the speckled look as the tips wear off and the bird becomes a more uniform dark brown or black. Starlings also have seasonal changes in bill colors, as they are yellow in the spring and black in the fall.

Meeting adjourned

May all your potholes be kind.