Al Batt: It’s impossible to pass a running ostrich

Published 6:05 am Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I couldn’t sleep last night.

You should do what I do when I have trouble sleeping.

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What’s that?

I pretend I’m in a meeting.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor, named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me, such as: I was up and running by 3 a.m. on Halloween. John Keats wrote,”There is a budding morrow in midnight.” It wasn’t doing much budding at 3 a.m. I recall Halloween being held at the local grade school when I was a pup. There was plenty of treating, but no tricking. I walked in the dark woods after that overload of sugar. I climbed a hill that I’d named Uphill in order to clear my head. Before going to bed, I listened to a scary reading on the radio as only a child could listen. Frightening things like that are called the news today. I sat in a roomy, upholstered chair as I focused my ears. As the story progressed, I felt the arms of the chair moving closer to my body. I went to bed early.

I made it to the airport early. The place was hopping even at a bit past 4 a.m. A fellow asked me, “What are all these people doing up so early?”

“Poor planning,” I answered. I was happy to get to my destination without encountering any ostriches. I drove down a rural Minnesota road one night when I encountered an ostrich running down the middle of the road ahead of me. It’s impossible to pass an ostrich running down the middle of a road. An ostrich can run 43 mph. I signaled, but the big bird had no rearview mirrors. The ostrich made a right-hand turn without signaling. In Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking-Glass,” the Red Queen tells Alice: “Now, here, you see, it takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place. If you want to get somewhere else, you must run at least twice as fast as that!”

Inside the gigantic airport, I found a purveyor of foodstuffs that offered a donut with a hole for $3 and a donut without a hole for $3.50. That company is going into the hole and still making a profit.

I spent part of Halloween in Sitka, Alaska. I dressed up as a Minnesotan. It was a trick getting there, but a treat being there.

Thoughts while trying not to yodel

A professor told me, “Don’t let the parade pass you by.” I thought that was the point to a parade.

Listening is usually the best advice.

Never let a traffic light know you’re in a hurry.

The Woodstock of capitalism

  More than 40,000 investors made a pilgrimage to the Berkshire Hathaway Annual Meeting held in Omaha to hear Warren Buffet, the 89-year-old Oracle of Omaha, give advice to young people. He said they should look for those better than they are and try to be like them. They’ll need to try to be like your mother or mine.

Nature notes

The yard scold, a boisterous blue jay, had a comment on everything. This is the time of the year when the crows begin to get on the nerves of anyone named Caw. It’s also the time of the year when we notice much of the leaves remaining on trees belong to nonnatives like buckthorn, lilac and weeping willow.

I moseyed along a lovely trail at the Columbia Audubon Nature Sanctuary located in Columbia, Missouri. I walked in on a Carolina wren concert. A pair bond can form between Carolina wrens at any time of the year and they usually mate for life. A pair stays together all year and forage on territory together.

I found pelicans to keep a rehabilitated pelican company when it was released in late October. During the breeding season, both male and female American white pelicans develop a pronounced fibrous plate on the top of their bills called a nuptial tubercle that is shed by the end of the breeding season.

The three sisters are corn, beans and squash. Native Americans found this trio thrived when planted together. In legend, the plants were gifts from the gods to be grown together, eaten together and celebrated together. The corn offers the beans support. The beans pull nitrogen from the air and into the soil for the benefit of all three. The large leaves of the sprawling squash protect the others by creating a living mulch shading the soil while keeping it cool and moist, and limiting weeds.

Meeting adjourned

“Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference.”

— Helen James