Al Batt: Life isn’t all rainbows and pony rides

Published 7:08 am Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

Why do I eat too much every Thanksgiving?

Man does not live by bread alone.

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What do you do when you’re stuffed completely full of mashed potatoes and gravy, turkey, stuffing, corn and green bean casserole?

I reign in my appetite and eat only three slices of pumpkin pie with whipped cream.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me, such as: I was in a large home improvement store wandering around in search of something I needed. I’d been there so long, I’d forgotten what I was looking for. A couple of house sparrows were shopping there, too. I followed them. They flew down a long aisle and took a right turn into the bird-feeding department. That wasn’t where I needed to be. I thanked them for the suggestion and wished them well. They chirped happily. Life isn’t all rainbows and pony rides. Stores and life can be difficult to navigate. I was taking a hot shower the other day, singing silently for the good of all mankind. The temperature was just right. I find a temperature I like and I stick with it. Maybe too long. Our shower is downstairs. Meanwhile my wife used the hot water upstairs. You don’t do that in an old farmhouse. Ice cubes came from the showerhead. My singing stopped being silent. I may have yodeled. My wife claimed it was an accident. I’m thankful for any surprise that doesn’t necessitate a clinic visit.

If I eat everything but the broccoli, does it count as cleaning

my plate?

Marsha Taylor of Goshen, Indiana, told me that she doesn’t like rice. She said that she’s a big girl now and she’s not going to eat rice.

I led a trip to Costa Rica and told the participants it’d be good if they liked rice and beans. If they didn’t like rice and beans, it’d be good if they learned to.

George H. W. Bush said, “I do not like broccoli. And I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m President of the United States and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli.”

Marsha’s brother-in-law, who had to clean his plate when he was a boy, demonstrates his maturity by refusing to clean his plate. He always leaves a bit of food. Even at Thanksgiving.

A travelogue

Traveling for speaking engagements has helped rid me of barn blindness. That’s an old dairy farmer’s lament, “When you see only your cows, they look pretty good to you.”

I spoke in Brookings, South Dakota. Every five years, the US Census of Agriculture counts the country’s cows. Nine states have more cows than people: Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Wyoming. South Dakotans are outnumbered by cattle 4.5 to 1. Nebraska has 3.5 head per Nebraskan. North Dakota has 2.5 head per person, Montana 2.4 and Wyoming 2.3. Iowa is 1.2 and Minnesota .42. The Gopher State has fewer cows because Minnesotans eat lutefisk, kale and avocado toast instead of beef. If you suffer from bovinophobia, the excessive fear of cattle, stay out of South Dakota and vacation in these states instead: New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, Delaware and Alaska.

Nature notes

“Why do birds have pecking orders?” A pecking order is more than mere bullying. It’s similar to a corporation’s organizational chart. With age and experience comes the benefit of enhanced feeding and roosting opportunities. A bird at the top of the pecking order gets a better parking place, just as a CEO does. Research has shown that dominant birds forage in safer locations and roost in more secure areas, leading to less predation.

“Are circling vultures a dead giveaway?” Contrary to popular belief, circling vultures don’t necessarily indicate the presence of a dead animal. Circling vultures may be gaining altitude for long flights, searching for food or frolicking. Vultures soar on thermals of warm, rising air. This allows them to conserve energy. After rising on thermals, they glide as far as possible before needing to flap their wings to regain altitude. They also rely on warm air thermals to remain aloft while searching for food. They aren’t known to circle dying animals, despite being shown circling wounded cowboys in the old TV and movie westerns. Sorry, Marshal Matt Dillon.

Meeting adjourned

“I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.”—G. K. Chesterton


Happy Thanksgiving. I’m thankful for you. I wish you what you wish yourself.