Can’t sneak up on anyone

Published 5:55 am Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I get the feeling that people don’t really know who I am.

What makes you feel that way, Delbert?

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My name is Harold.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor, named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me, such as: I’d put a couple of bags in the backseat. I was driving along when I heard road sounds. They were loud. A bag had leaned against the button operating a window. I’d roll the window up electronically and the bag rolled it back down. I saw an illuminated sign warning, “Don’t veer for deer.” There was a dead deer on the highway not far from that sign. That deer’s last words could have been, “Thanks a lot for the crummy sign.”

The shoes shouldn’t have squeaked; they were paid for

I’m no clothes-horse, but I’d become a regular shoe-horse. That meant I’d bought new clodhoppers. A friend, Jim Shook of Haines, Alaska, has big feet, too. His father told him it was difficult finding shoes for Jim because it was hard to come up with two cows exactly the same color. My new shoes squeaked loudly. Dampness on the shoes or the floor or both that caused a duet in the library. Another patron said, “You can’t sneak up on anybody wearing those.” That concerned me. I checked my to-do list. Fortunately, there was nothing on the list about sneaking up on anyone.

Weather kept me in an airport

“How have you been since your last flight was canceled?” became a greeting between those with familiar faces.

“How are you?” I asked one.

“Worse,” was his reply, effectively ending the conversation.

A traveler’s tales

I was in a bookstore in Juneau, Alaska, when a little boy walked up to me and announced at full volume that he’d just wet his pants. His mother was mortified. What am I supposed to do in a situation like that? Do I give him a high-five, say “Way to go,” or tell him that I just did, too?

I was in the Seattle-Tacoma Airport listening to a fellow traveler tell me what the perfect number of cup holders was in a car, when I heard the Alaska Airlines gate agent say, “If you are wearing a Russell Wilson sweatshirt, you are invited to board at this time.” I had to ask someone who Russell Wilson was. As you probably know, he’s a quarterback for the Seattle Seahawks. I figured it wasn’t worth buying a sweatshirt just to board early.

I floated on a large ferry from Haines to Juneau. It was the 408-foot long Malaspina designed to carry 450 passengers and has a vehicle capacity of 1,675 linear feet, which is equal to approximately 83 twenty-foot long vehicles. It’s named after the Malaspina Glacier in Wrangell-St. Elias National Park & Preserve. The ferry was in need of $16 million in repairs, but I didn’t notice any limping on its part.

Table tending

I told Susan Johnston of Haines that I liked the rustic table in her house. She said it wasn’t hers. She had it because its owners hadn’t room for it in their house. Susan was just table sitting.

The cafe chronicles

I love small towns where I’m not in anyone’s way. Karen Bergner of Mankato worked at Vivian’s Cafe in Hartland when she was a girl. She admitted to being mystified when people insisted on putting a slice of cheese on apple pie. My father favored that arrangement. It’s not bad. How could it be? It’s still pie.

A scene from a marriage

The wind howled. Trees fell. The power went off. I woke my wife. It wasn’t easy to wake her, but I had to. She can’t sleep during storms.

Nature notes

Please join me at the Albert Lea Seed House at 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 7 for a free presentation and visit about birds and nature. Bring your stories.

I walked the sidewalks of a small city. The stroll was an icy one, so I quoted a chickadee. Chickadees make a chickadee-dee-dee call and increase the number of dee notes when they are alarmed. Blue jays flew from yard to yard. They sampled the fare at various bird feeders as if they were running a trap line. The jays share one belief with all other jays: Jays are wonderful.

Sometimes called “snowflakes,” snow buntings resemble snowflakes as they swirl through the air before settling on winter fields.

The duck test is a form of abductive reasoning. If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it’s probably a duck. Likely a mallard.

Meeting adjourned

“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.”

— Lao Tzu.

I wish you a blissful Thanksgiving.