Al Batt: Living the American Dream

Published 6:26 am Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

Did you put those plastic flamingos on my lawn?

Of course not!

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I don’t believe you.

I have many witnesses who didn’t see me do it.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor, named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me, such as: My wife was given an “I agree with Al” T-shirt. She wore it once. It didn’t agree with her.

Those thrilling days of yesteryear

I overheard my parents talking about me. “I’d love to know what that boy is thinking,” said my mother.

My father nodded before adding, “I’d love to know that he is thinking.”

Later, making an effort to learn if my brain was producing any thoughts, my father asked me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?”

“I don’t know,” I said because I didn’t.

“You should become a pilot,” he advised.

“Really?” I wondered aloud.

“There’s a lot of split firewood by the brooder house. Pile it.”

The taming of the shrew

Years ago, my wife and I lived at the edge of a small town. Shrews got into our laundry room. That’s right, shrews. They were likely hunting the mice that were a part of our laundry room menagerie. Shrews are the smallest Minnesota mammals. The venomous saliva of the short-tail shrew aids in subduing larger prey like mice. We couldn’t tame the shrews.

I’ve never seen a shrew in the house we live in now. We still have odd things. We have six lawnmowers in a shed. There was a time when we didn’t own a single mower. I need to cull the mower herd, but until then we’re living the American Dream.

Ask Al

“How should speed limits be determined?” They should be based on the deer population.

“Why do people enjoy watching sports?” Because it’s easier to watch than play them.

“Is it bad manners to use lefse to blow my nose?” Yes, only lutefisk should be used for that purpose.

“What is the most common advice that is given?” Unsolicited.

Thoughts while trimming my nose hairs

It’s a small town if there is nowhere to get air for your tires.

If you have a name that is hard to spell or pronounce, you will spend your life correcting people.

I wish I could Google what I couldn’t remember and was going to Google before I forgot what it was that I was going to Google.

If you lose a good luck piece, how lucky could it have been?

Nature notes

The weather had been unseasonably something or another. I knew that because the weather is always unseasonable.

The night had brought sounds with it. Fireflies lit the way for buzzing mosquitoes working the graveyard shift. I enjoyed the sounds of katydids singing, “Katy did. Katy didn’t.” Snowy tree crickets chirped “tree, tree, tree” in a way that the temperature could be estimated. Count the number of chirps in 13 seconds and add 40 to yield the temperature. It’s “snowy” because of their pale color.

Cicadas sang. In ancient Greek myth, Tithonus turned into a cicada after being granted immortality, but not eternal youth by Zeus.

It was bird-melting hot. A robin made a small sound of the first bird to see the sun. The only bird singing was an indigo bunting. The mnemonic device used to remember the bunting’s song goes like this: ”Sweet, sweet, chew, chew, see-it, see-it“ or: “Fire, fire! Where, where? Here, Here! Put-it-out, put-it-out!”

The Carolina grasshopper, Carolina locust, black-winged grasshopper or road duster, one of North America’s largest grasshoppers, is conspicuous because of its size, colorful and crackling wings, and a habit of flying over dirt roads and other bare ground. The wingspread of the male measures 3 inches and that of the female 3.5 to 4 inches.

Foxtail barley, sometimes called squirrel-tail grass, gave roadsides a windswept look. Growing up to 8 feet tall, compass plant, with its large yellow flowers, grew in the ditches. Its leaves have a tendency to orient themselves on a north-south axis, which helps maximize photosynthesis. This helped disoriented settlers find their way.

I found a crab spider. This spider can change its body color to blend with its background. It hunts by ambush without a web.

Turkey vultures like to be in areas with a good population of deer because they enjoy road-killed venison.

The Henderson (MN) Hummingbird Hurrah offers birds, bees, butterflies, blooms, gardens and hummingbird banding on Saturday, August 17, from 9 to 4. I’ll see you there.

Meeting adjourned

“Unexpected kindness is the most powerful, least costly and most underrated agent of human change.”

– Bob Kerrey