Al Batt: Wandering mind prepared to wonder

Published 6:29 am Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I just purchased a new cellphone. The salesman said everyone who bought one swears by it.

How’s it working for you?

Email newsletter signup

I think he meant to say everyone who bought one swears at it.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his driveway, thoughts occur to me, such as: We’d had some good grub at the Happy Chef Restaurant in Mankato. Coming out of that eatery, I turned right. My wife said, “The car is this way,” and made a left turn, walking towards the vehicle.

I walked alone as the character played by Gary Cooper did in the movie “High Noon.”

The first Happy Chef Restaurant opened in 1963 in Mankato and still operates today. An iconic 36-foot tall, bow-legged Happy Chef statue stands out front and it speaks while waving a giant spoon. Its motion activated voice says 55 different phrases. The Chef told me, “I’ve been holding up this spoon since 1968. My arm sure is getting tired.” As I turned around to join my bride in the car, he said, “Hey, I can see your house from here.”

I walked to the car thinking the statue was a liar.

I like walking. Many folks are on a 10,000 steps per day regimen. I watched chipmunks scurry about our yard. They likely find 10,000 steps to be no challenge. Having four legs causes their steps to add up twice as fast as mine.

At least my zipper was up

I spend a considerable amount of time in meetings. Meetings are important. They keep the world from accomplishing too many things. Funny things happen at meetings. Minutes are generally kept. A friend of mine turned in the minutes that she had kept of one meeting that indicated everyone received a plague. It should have been a plaque, but plague sounded as if it were a part of a more interesting if fatal meeting.

I sat at a large table during a board meeting. I was wearing new pants. I’d had a dramatic weight loss and needed new pants. Some of the weight loss must have been brain cells. My new trousers had a lengthy sticker I’d neglected to remove running vertically on one leg, which indicated size and other such things. I noticed the exceedingly apparent presence of the sticker after the meeting had been going for some time. So did the fellow seated next to me. He looked at the sticker. I smiled and said, “New pants.”

Nature notes

I was awakened at daybreak by drumming woodpeckers. It was a more pleasant way to join the world than by hearing a strident alarm clock.

A skunk had met its demise on the road not far from my front door. The fetid smell assailed my olfactory sense. I took a deep breath and chipped a tooth. It loves to wander, but my mind was prepared to wonder. I saw flying dandelions. I didn’t see as many of those goldfinches in my yard this winter as I do most years. I welcomed their brightened plumage.

I took some photos. I reminded myself that cameras are to take bad photos as well as good ones. I took a long walk on the Blazing Star Trail in Albert Lea. A kinglet posed patiently and perfectly for this flawed photographer. For that and other things, I am most grateful.

I watched a fox squirrel eat the buds of a tree and what looked like the larvae of some insect. A turkey vulture soared overhead in a shallow V. V for vulture. A brown thrasher graced my yard. It chairs a gardener’s support group. A mnemonic for its melodious song in which it repeats itself as men tend to do is, “Plant a seed, plant a seed; bury it, bury it; cover it up, cover it up; let it grow, let it grow; pull it up, pull it up; eat it, eat it.”

I heard Bishop Steven Delzer read one of my favorite poems by Mary Oliver. “Meadowlark, when you sing it’s as if You lay your yellow breast upon mine and say Hello, hello, and are we not Of one family, in our delight of life? You sing, I listen. Both are necessary If the world is to continue going around Night-heavy then light-laden, though not Everyone knows this or at least Not yet, Or, perhaps, has forgotten it In the torn fields, In the terrible debris of progress.”

Not long after hearing that fine bit of poetry, I heard a meadowlark sing. A meadowlark’s song is a banquet for my ears.

Meeting adjourned

Every drop of water shapes a stone. Be kind.