Al Batt: All roads lead to being closed

Published 6:47 am Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I loved winter when I was a child.

And now?

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I realize I was delusional then.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor, named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me, such as: I’d read about the death of a young parent in a car crash. Speed was the culprit. I understand the need for acceleration, but high speeds need to go on a diet. If it’s not a race car, it doesn’t need that much speed. Highways aren’t race tracks. Automakers, wave your magic wand and fix it.

Speaking of cars, I see by a realty’s signs that Pete’s Service Center in Hartland is for sale. Pete has a way with old cars. They like him. Pete has been in business for many years. That’s because he did what he was supposed to do. Hartland once had another business named Pete’s. It was run by a fellow named Pete (no surprise there) who was sometimes my bus driver. It was a beer joint with pool tables and pinball machines.

Two good men named Pete. That’s worth rePete-ing.

It’s a winter wonderland, probably

Welcome to winter. It will be fun is what someone told us. February — the shortest month of the year had become the longest month of the year. It’s not fake weather. Storms pop up like a combover in a strong wind. We’ve gotten so much snow that I’ve had to seek higher ground. The snow had cleared the sidewalk of most people. Winter dictates our lives. All roads lead to being closed. We take pride in surviving whatever winter throws at us.

Folklore says that the first 12 days of the year are useful for forecasting the year’s weather. The weather on the first will reflect how January’s weather will be. The second day forecasts the weather for February. January 2 must have been a doozy. I looked it up. That date was a dandy January day for both man and beast.

I recall another February. A car was stuck in deep snow. I joined a couple of other guys in attempting to free the auto. We pushed and pushed. We rocked the car for so long, we rocked the driver to sleep.

It’s a winter wonderland. We wonder when it will relent. We’ll be fine as long as winter ends by June. It’s good for us to keep our expectations low.

Squeaking sneakers

I saw him at a high school basketball game in a gym an hour away from his home. We share a relative on a team, but I couldn’t remember seeing him at any contests other than home games. I wondered what was up. It turned out he was practicing for a trip to Hawaii. He figured if he could travel an hour as a passenger in a car, he could fly to Honolulu. I hope he was able to fly first class until a flight attendant caught him.

In a related note, Amos Vogel of Morgan and I sat next to each other on hard bleachers meant to encourage fans to visit the concession stand as often as possible, and talked about our drives to the game. He said his was 90 miles. He had told a friend of his from a sparsely populated part of Montana about it and his friend replied, “For us, a 90-mile drive would be a home game.”

I drove home by the light of the Super Snow Moon. That was astonishingly nice.

Nature notes

Looking and listening to birds are my default settings. I saw passerines. About half of all bird species are passerines. A passerine is a bird of the order Passeriformes, which have feet specialized for perching. The order includes our songbirds. Goldfinches were singing. A cardinal was doing his “What cheer, what, what, what.“ A black-capped chickadee flew into the feeder, grabbed a sunflower seed and left. The tiny bird traveled on rapid wingbeats, about 27 of them per second. I heard another chickadee call, sounding closer than he was. A feathered ventriloquist throwing his voice. A much larger bird moved away quickly. A wild turkey can run up to 25 mph and make short flights up to 55 mph.

In “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” Ferris said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

That certainly applies to appreciating the charms of nature.

Meeting adjourned

If someone were to pay you $5 for every kind word you have ever spoken and collect $1 from you for every unkind word you have said, would you be rich or poor?