Al Batt: There are two kinds of people

Published 6:38 am Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

You’re going to have a second piece of pie?

I have to eat a lot, because if my stomach is empty, I get stomachaches.

Email newsletter signup

You must get a lot of headaches, too.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his driveway, thoughts occur to me, such as: E.B. White wrote, “Everything in life is somewhere else, and you get there in a car.”

I drove along counting red-tailed hawks and padiddles, one-eyed vehicles also known as Popeyes. I traveled across great slabs of land. I motored past a place called Confusion Hill near Neligh, Nebraska. I’ve never been to Confusion Hill, but I’ve been climbing it all my life.

If you dislike winter, try not to get your sad on anyone

He walked like a metronome. Bad hip or knee, I guessed. He told me his TV got two channels: on and off. A wild turkey had flown onto his rooftop TV antenna and knocked it out of commission. He reckoned it was OK with him. He was falling apart. He need not watch the world do the same. He said his aches meant bad weather was coming.

In school, a persistent gag was to stick a “Kick me” sign on someone. That brought chortles and guffaws galore. We must have all been sporting such signs when April gave us a good kick with weather that didn’t agree with anyone or anything. At the Batt Cave, we were without power for 47 hours. My wife was the official timekeeper. Life became camping in a giant tent.

I’ll miss the toppled trees, but I’ve learned that my life consists of missing things, welcoming things and appreciating what I have. There are two kinds of people: Those who think the world is made up of two kinds of people and those who don’t think the world is made up of two kinds of people. There are two kinds of rural folks: Those who own a generator and those who don’t own a generator. I fall into the latter category. Our electrical service is so reliable, I don’t feel the need.

Another library burned down

Each time someone dies, it’s as if a library had burned to the ground. We remember the good moments, but, sadly, it’s more cake than frosting. Time slips away. We’re unable to hang onto it. This funeral was for a lifelong farmer. I hoped he and his tractor had run out of gas synchronously at the end of a field and that his loved ones would get to a good place.

People entering the church asked me where the elevator was and restrooms were. Apparently, I look like someone who, if he doesn’t know anything, might at least suspect something. “Downstairs,” I said, happy to be of little use.

Funerals are a fact of life. That sounds odd, but it’s true. When it comes to longevity, our mileage varies. At another funeral, a fellow told me he knew a man who had died without ever having eaten lutefisk. I hope that wasn’t what killed him.

Nature notes

Winter lingered. Weather is never perfect. Denny Galagan of Albert Lea said any robins arriving before the 4th of July should bring backhoes to dig for worms. Juncos were so numerous in his yard that their chicken-like scratching plowed more snow than it found food.

I watched red-tailed hawks spar over a prey item. Meadowlarks, messengers of the south wind, arrived to give wings to my memories. With the late-arriving snow, we could have enough snowmelt ponds, pools and puddles to produce all the mosquitoes we need. Their eggs hatch in the stagnant water of footprints, tire tracks, depressions in rocks, buckets, wheelbarrows, clogged rain gutters, tarp coverings, tires and boats.

At a small wetland in Missouri, I watched a great blue heron trying to swallow a fish too big to swallow, relentlessly adjusting its position in the bill, to no avail. The bird became a catch-and-release heron. The fish had quite a story to tell. A crow flew over the wetland. It was mobbed by angry red-winged blackbirds. The blackbirds flew over the crow and pecked it from above. Not long after that, a red-tailed hawk flew over the wetland. The redtail got the same reception from the blackbirds. When I returned to that wetland two days later, a turkey vulture flew over. It received the same treatment. The vulture was no threat to the blackbirds, but the redwings were on high alert and not about to take any chances.

Meeting adjourned

Tell someone how much you appreciate them. You’ll make two people happy.