Al Batt: “Are you going to finish that?”

Published 5:45 am Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

This is going to be a poor excuse for a day.

You need to work on your attitude.

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The day needs to step up its game.

Driving by

Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me, such as: I listened to the “Peter Gunn Theme” before stopping at a Friends of the Public Library’s book sale. “Peter Gunn” was an old TV show of which I know little other than it was about a gumshoe and presented in the film noir tradition. I enjoy the instrumental done by Henry Mancini. It brings benevolent intrigue to my day. Back to the book sale. I love those things. I thought of Emily Dickinson’s poem. “There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away Nor any Coursers like a Page Of prancing Poetry – This Traverse may the poorest take Without oppress of Toll –How frugal is the Chariot That bears the Human Soul.”

My wife bought a new toaster. Parts were falling off our old one. When the toast popped up, bits of the toaster popped off. I’m not sure how many miles of toast our old appliance had on it.

I ate at a cafe. I had toast in memory of our old toaster. I have a decent appetite. I grew up when hard work led to good food. The young man seated next to me ordered a country fried steak with gravy. For his two sides, he chose french fries and mashed potatoes. He licked the plate clean. Then he had pie and ice cream. Maybe he had been fasting before he began feasting, but I’m betting there are six words that teenager has never heard, “Are you going to finish that?”

It was a hair-raising experience

The sleep had to go. I started the day with a shower followed by a shave. I dropped my razor on the floor. I figured that knocked the sharpness from the blade I’d been using for about seven months too long, so I installed a brand-new blade. I covered all the shaveable parts of my face with shaving cream. I began to shave with the sharp blade according to my image in the mirror. It was there where I saw it. It was a long hair coming from one of my better ears. I tried pulling it out, but my fingers were sporting bits of slippery shaving cream that made plucking impossible. I thought of getting a scissors and clipping it, but why do that when I had a perfectly good razor in my hand. I’d just lightly scrape the part of my ear sprouting a hair and the job would be neatly done. That was the plan. Apparently, life’s instructions were handed out in first grade when I was home with a cold. That’s why I never play a fool. I work full-time at it.

I plowed a little too deep with a keen blade. If you should happen to go to the self-help section of a bookstore and search for a book on how to be happy, you’ll find books. None of them will tell you the way to happiness is to start your day by bleeding from your ear.

Later, I tied a knot in the ear hair — a timber hitch. That’s just until I can find the pruning shears.

Nature notes

It was a nice enough day. The yard crows were laughing at fall’s mood swings. Crows are good at entertaining themselves. I wonder if crows have a favorite season? I like all 67 seasons that we have here, but it’s difficult to find one more beautiful than autumn. Fall carries more gold in its pocket than does any other season. The first fall frost dates on average, according to The Old Farmer’s Almanac, occur on Sept. 29 in Mankato, Oct. 8 in Minneapolis, Sept. 22 in Duluth, Sept. 27 in Mason City, Oct. 11 in Des Moines, and Oct. 5 in La Crosse.

The second half of October brought five eastern bluebirds to my yard. I christened them the bluebirds of happiness, kindness, forgiveness, hopefulness and wellness. I also saw a red fox. The red fox is native to the boreal and western portions of North America, but its origins are unknown in many lowland areas. Red foxes were absent from much of the east coast at the time of European settlement, not becoming common until the mid-1800s. Vulpes is Latin for fox. Its scientific name, Vulpes vulpes, means “fox fox.”

Meeting adjourned

A kind word might change a moment and that could be all that’s needed.