Al Batt: A thing gains importance when you can’t find it

Published 6:55 am Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I had to close the office today. Everybody called in sick.

What was wrong with everyone?

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Staff infection.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me, such as: Back when the big rule in my life was “don’t throw rocks“ and every school nurse was an in-network provider, family friends from a big city (with a population nearing 20,000) stopped by our farm.

We joined the visitors in looking at a cow. It doesn’t take much to amuse some folks. The cow, being a ruminant, chewed its cud.

One of our guests said, “It looks like it’s chewing gum.”

It looked like a cow to me.

The cafe chronicles

Emily Dickinson called November the Norway of the year. I’d walked (traveling by Chevrolets) a good distance to get to the Eat Around It Cafe. I tried to walk like a Norwegian, but I didn’t know how. I’d no more than settled in a proper dining chair located in the comments section of the cafe, when something happened that stunned the assembled chowhounds. Two men came through the door. That in itself was nothing exceptional. What shocked the assorted customers and loafers was that neither man wore a hat. I’m not sure I’d have believed it had I not seen it, but I swear it’s true. I never did find out who they were, but I figured they were with the government or from another planet.

You don’t need a robe to use a spoon

I have a couple of spoons that I favor when eating my breakfast cereal. The spoons are identical twins. They weren’t custom made for my mouth, so they aren’t huge, but they’re comfortable and familiar. Sometimes I have to hunt for one. A thing gains importance when you can’t find it.

“Why do you always have to use that spoon?” asked my curious wife.

“I like the spoon,” I answered.

“It’s no better than the other spoons,” she added.

I replied, “And it doesn’t pretend it’s better than other spoons. That’s why I like it.”

I thought about one of those spoons when I awoke this morning. According to a study by Braun Research Center and Bank of America, more people think about their smartphones than their significant others when they first wake up. I think of my phone first only when I’m using it as an alarm clock and need to silence that alarm. The study found 35 percent of people thought about their smartphones first thing in the morning, 17 percent thought about coffee, 13 percent thought about toothbrushes, 10 percent thought about significant others, 6 percent thought of TV remotes and 4 percent about their robes. I’ve never thought about my robe. That might be because I have no robe. The survey found 23 percent of respondents often fell asleep with smartphones in hand. I’ve never done that. Probably because I have no robe.

Nature notes

In an attempt to stop bad weather, children in Japan make fine-weather dolls called Teru Teru Bozu (pronounced tay-roo tay-roo boh-zoo). Teru means “shine” and bozu means “little boy.” The little dolls are considered good luck charms and are hung on the eaves of roofs outside windows to bring sunny days. To make a Teru Teru Bozu, take two sheets of facial tissue and crumple them into a ball. Drape another tissue over the ball and tie a piece of string below the ball, allowing the third tissue to hang down, causing it resemble a ghost. Personalize your Teru Teru Bozu by drawing a face on the head or by other markings. If the Teru Teru Bozu is hung upside down, it’ll bring rainy or snowy days. If it’s hung sideways, it brings cloudy days. Hanging the Teru Teru Bozu with its head pointing up demonstrates a wish for sunny days. Ideally, the doll should hang near a window where it could see the sky.

The roadrunner isn’t the fastest bird at running, despite what Wile E. Coyote says. An emu can exceed 30 mph, but would lose a race to an ostrich, which can hit 43 mph and trot long distances at 31 mph.

About 50 percent of robins perish each year. If a robin survives to midwinter, it’ll live another 1.7 years on average. One banded robin lived nearly 14 years.

The world’s smallest bird is the bee hummingbird of Cuba. It’s 2.25 inches long and a male might weigh less than a dime.

Meeting adjourned

“Appreciative words are the most powerful force for good on earth.”

George W. Crane