Al Batt: Putting the horse before the restroom

Published 7:32 am Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

This is the best tuna casserole I’ve ever eaten.

It’s a broccoli cheese casserole.

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Oh, then it’s the worst broccoli cheese casserole I’ve ever eaten.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

  I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his driveway, thoughts occur to me, such as: I’d just celebrated my birthday. It was a restrained jollification, but I need to rejoice over each natal day. I’m loyal. I’m surprised to make it another year because I read the obituaries. I’ve been lucky. In the midst of basking in a new age, I was at an event, about to pay for the entry. I told the ticket seller that I had a question.

“No, you may not use your annual pass,” she said.

That was a good answer, but it had nothing to do with the question I was about to ask, which pertained to the location of a restroom. She had anticipated my question and provided an answer too soon. She had put the cart before the horse. We all do that. I took the exchange as a reminder that I need to be a better listener.

Bread wrappers

A woman told me about wearing bread wrappers over her shoes. I didn’t do that often, but I do recall slipping Wonder Bread wrappers over my stocking feet before putting on boots. They kept my socks dry and helped my feet slide into boots I was trying to outgrow.

  I thought about that as I looked at the bread displayed at a Costco. I’d taken my wife there as a surprise. It was our anniversary. I’d gotten a couple of one-day passes. We could look, but we couldn’t buy. I was OK with that.

Customer comments

A New Ulm man told me that his parents had been heavy smokers. Their old house was a port in the storm for mice and it stormed all year. His mother and father weren’t the least bit concerned with the mice. They thought man and mouse could coexist peaceably. Angels and devils were invited to their home. Then the mice found where the couple stored their cigarette cartons. The mice chewed (and ate) A number of the heaters. His parents declared war on all of mousekind.

Glen Shirley of Farmington said that his family elder called flipping a calendar page as “doing his monthly duty.” When in his last years, the man was asked if he had any big trips planned. He replied, “Beldenville.” Beldenville was the city where his cemetery plot was. That’s a big trip.

Mike O’Brien of Burnsville told me of his friend who never uses a shopping cart when in a grocery store. He’d found that he could carry $50 worth of groceries, but if he got a cart, his purchases quickly rose to $100.

Nature notes

Someone told me that the seasons were too long. He was talking about the NFL, NHL, NBA and MLB, but he could have been talking about winter.

Tom Lehrer said, “Bad weather always looks worse through a window.“ He was wrong there.

Shakespeare wrote, “April hath put a spirit of youth in everything.” This year’s spirit might be a weary one.

I heard a hawk, but it was a blue jay. Blue jays commonly mimic the calls of red-tailed and red-shouldered hawks.

I watched downy and hairy woodpeckers. The downy usually nests before the larger hairy does.

I spotted a meadowlark — not sure if it was eastern or western. Some pioneers likened a meadowlark to quail, as they had similar builds and walks, plus a distinctive flight of quick fluttering wings followed by a short sail through the air. This earned them the nickname marsh quail.

Song sparrows and cardinals were the latest visitors to the feeders. Their appetites work long hours.

Take a look out the window and you’ll be amazed at what you might see. A fox squirrel watched everything. Every day is a parade to a squirrel and nuts like me.

Jim Lageson of Ellendale asked if I had anything good to say about starlings. I do, but I’ll likely never get a job as their PR man. I think they are beautiful birds and their aerial displays done in flocks (murmurations) are impressive. They do eat insect pests, but they eat nearly anything. They are talented mimics and some consider them wonderful pets. Mozart had a pet starling. Some people find them fit for human consumption.

Meeting adjourned

“There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.”

— Fred Rogers, crediting Henry James