Al Batt: Life is fraught with difficulties

Published 6:05 am Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I heard you had surgery.

I did.

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That takes a lot out of a person, doesn’t it?

It does and some of it isn’t coming back.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his driveway, thoughts occur to me, such as: I traveled around Alaska when weather permitted. I’d just walked up a couple of flights of stairs in an attempt at physical fitness. As I reached my floor, the elevator opened and a friend from Indiana stepped out, called my name and gave me an affectionate hug. Happiness is an unexpected warm hug on a cold day.

Rated Rx

Life has a complicated plot. It’s fraught with difficulties. My set of circumstances dictated that I have surgeries. The good folks at Methodist Hospital gave me anesthesia and told me to count down from 100. By the last surgery, I’d had enough practice to nearly get to 98.

Now, I arise in the darkest part of the night and walk, hoping that a barefoot wouldn’t find where the cat had barfed during the night. I walk letters down to the mailbox. The post office has become like a lunch lady — easy to pick on — but mail is a bargain. For the low price of a stamp, I can send a letter to an ailing friend far across the country who is battling the same dreaded disease that had afflicted me.

Snowbirds are thinking of returning to the frozen country. These folks are brisk-averse when it comes to weather. I walked on snowbanks in the yard while moving about and doing the chores. I was doing well until I stopped to examine an animal track. Then I broke through the roof of the snow and dropped past my knees into the white stuff. I’d been like the famed cartoon character, Wile E. Coyote, who ran off cliffs and continued to run through the air until he realized what he was doing and looked down. Then he fell. One of the many secrets to life is to keep moving as long as you can, but keep an eye out for cat barf.

I smell like birthday cake

I had a birthday on St. Urho’s Day. Some days I feel 20 years younger than my age, other days 20 years older. The legend of St. Urho, created in Minnesota, says he chased the grasshoppers out of Finland, saving the grape crop and the jobs of vineyard workers. My birthday presents were varied: A 20-foot long snow roof rake. A raccoon stole a suet feeder. It was likely the critter’s birthday, too. I obtained a library book that I’m excited about reading. And my granddaughter, Joey Batt, made first-team all-state in basketball, was named a finalist for Miss Minnesota Basketball and cited as player of the year by the New Ulm Journal. It was a grand birthday, but I don’t know how to act my age. I’ve never been it before.

Al Batt’s brain cramps

The first rule of grocery shopping: the shortest line will be the slowest.

Every crayon I ever owned became two smaller crayons.

Worry is like a bunch of shopping bags. We can grab more than we can carry.

Ladies, never marry a man who tells you he has never used a wrench to turn a nut the wrong way. He’ll lie about other things, too.

Never give a snowman a housewarming gift.

Nature notes

“How can I tell if the robins I see have migrated in or they overwintered?“ The migrants are skittish—flightier and noisier than the winter remainders. My mother said that a returning robin needed snow on its tail three times before it was truly spring.

“Does cold winter weather have an impact on insects?“ To a remarkably limited degree.

“How much can a bald eagle carry?” It could carry about 25 percent of its weight. My neighborhood eagles weigh 8 to 13 pounds.

“Why do geese honk when flying in flocks and other birds don’t?” Most other birds are unable to honk, but that’s their problem. It’s thought that geese honk in flight to keep up communication with the flock, encourage stray birds to resume positions, maintain correct speed and distance, and preserve a V-formation that enables geese to conserve energy and fly longer distances due to a drafting effect. Other birds make sounds while they fly in flocks, but most are quieter than geese, so they aren’t always heard by us.

Meeting adjourned

An Estonian proverb says, “Who does not thank for little will not thank for much.” Be kind.