One more reason to be thankful this Yule season

Published 6:36 am Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I hate being a Scrooge, but I lost a big bet I had with my brother-in-law on a game. His football team scored a last-second touchdown.

How did that happen?

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The ghost of Christmas passed.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me, such as: I came from a visitation (I tend to call it a wake) for a long-time friend named Milo Madson and I was pumping gas. I was thinking about Milo as I did so. I was gassing up with good memories. I remembered another day when I’d filled the tank of another car. I rushed into the gas station, greeted Milo and others inside. I was in a hurry to get where I wasn’t, so I quickly paid for my fuel with a credit card and hit the road. I’d checked into a hotel several states away, had emptied my pockets and was about to throw the receipt into the wastebasket when I’d noticed the amount I’d paid. Yikes! I’d doubled the value of my car by filling its tank with gas. How could that much gas fit into my small car? I ran outside and checked its backseat and trunk. There was no gasoline in either place. I found out later that I’d paid Milo’s bill. He owned a truck with a gas tank the size of my car. Milo made things right. He was the kind who made things right.

The cafe chronicles

I sat in a lovely cafe where I ordered the Swedish pancakes with lingonberries. Why step in a puddle when I can step on a cloud? I ordered the pancakes in homage to my heritage and because I love Swedish pancakes. A nice thing about being a Heinz 57 human, a mixture of many nationalities, is that nearly anything I eat is a nod to my ancestry. One of my grandmothers came from Sweden as a young woman.

Ringing bells slothfully

I was ringing bells for the Salvation Army. I stepped on a floor mat that apparently had air pockets hidden within that when weight was applied, it made sounds like the cracking and popping of a chiropractor’s adjustment (manipulation). That didn’t bother a 6-foot long, plush, stuffed animal sloth sitting on a soup and oyster cracker display. It looked at me with unblinking eyes. I think sloths are underrepresented in the plush, stuffed animal marketplace. At least I thought so. A shopper told me that one of those stores the size of a small city featured a plush, stuffed animal sloth on Black Friday.

I’ve spent time staring at sloths in Costa Rica. The slow-moving tree dwellers rarely descend from the safety of the treetops. About once a week, they visit the forest floor to defecate.

I kept an eye on that plush, stuffed animal sloth, but it didn’t come down from its soup and oyster cracker display perch.

One more reason to be thankful this Yule season.

There were no cereal boxes to be seen

I wasn’t in the cereal aisle of a local grocery store. I noticed it right away. I’m sometimes found there, but not this day.

I was on a shuttle waiting to go from where I was to where I needed to be. A passenger on the shuttle moaned that every shuttle she ever uses is late. She said this as we sat in a shuttle that had to wait a considerable amount of time before it could leave because it was early.

Maybe her timepiece of choice was giving her bad information. Perhaps she’d forgotten all the times shuttles were on time or early? A friend, Dale Westland of Hayward, said he was born with a bad memory and it hasn’t gotten any better.

We all forget things. I try to remember to be grateful and to smile — even if a shuttle is late.

Nature notes

It appeared to be nearing its end, but looks can be deceiving. It was a box elder tree that didn’t know how to die. It was covered with noisy birds. European starlings. A group called the American Acclimatization Society that wanted America to have every bird mentioned by Shakespeare brought starlings here and released the birds in Central Park in the 1890s. Starlings have become one of the continent’s most numerous songbirds. The feathers starlings sport now have white tips, giving them a spotted look. By spring, the tips will have worn away, leaving dark and iridescent brown feathers. Scientists call this a wear molt.

Meeting adjourned

Always find room for thankfulness in your conversations. Merry Christmas.