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Driving with A-frame roofs

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I drove to Kearney, Nebraska, and back. Guess how many cows I saw.

I don’t know. How many did you see?

How should I know? I didn’t count them.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor, named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me, such as: I experienced the sight of empty toilet paper and bread aisles in a store. I drove north on Winter, a street in Wakefield, Nebraska. Running low on gas, I turned down the radio. That seemed to help. After fueling to my car’s content, I taught a couple of writing classes. Brilliant kids. It was a beautiful spring day. Then a terrible thing happened while I was having lunch. Someone claimed winter was over. “No!” I screamed. “Take it back. Say you were just kidding.”

It was too late. Within a few hours, we had a winter storm complete with sleet, ice and snow. Most everyone who traveled the same path I had described the weather as crappy. I’m going to get myself a snow globe that after I shake it, a tiny snow plow appears and pushes snow. A van ahead of me dispensed copious amounts of snow from its roof. Vans in snowy areas should have A-frame roofs.

Coaches count

I watched as the Minnesota State basketball coach, Emilee Thiesse, stamped her foot vigorously. She wore high heels. How she kept from breaking a heel is a mystery. She whistled loudly, which the TV announcer deemed sending a Batt Signal to her point guard, Joey Batt. Coaching runs in Emilee’s family as her sister is the head coach at Nebraska. My son is a high school coach. I see how much work and the incredible hours he puts into coaching. I especially appreciate all the work done by volunteer coaches. They don’t do it for fame or fortune.

A travelogue

I’m fortunate that work has allowed me to travel to many places on this old world. Like Forrest Gump, I’ve been many places. Traveling is wonderful as long as I have a home to return to. Unmoored traveling isn’t for me. I haven’t been everywhere, but I’ve been to Louisiana where I learned to never cook an alligator in a crockpot. And Hungary where a collective noun might be a goulash of Hungarians. I visited Kansas and discovered the poor man’s banana tastes like a cross between a banana and a mango. It’s a paw paw. In Sacramento, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill designating lace lichen the California state lichen, making California the first to have a state lichen.

I visited Republican City, Nebraska, named after the Republican River. Why the Republican name? Jefferson and Madison opposed Hamilton’s Federalists, usually calling themselves Republicans or sometimes Democratic-Republicans. A Republican was anyone who believed in government without a king or aristocracy. In the 1780s, the river was known to French traders as “Fourche des Republiques”— the Forks of the Republicans. The Republicans were a band of Pawnees living there at the time and the river was given their name.

Nature notes

Looking out the window is worth the effort. Snow hadn’t been elusive or overwhelming. The DNR says January is our snowiest month on average, followed by December, March, November, February and April. When spring comes, can winter be far behind? We need a change of scenery, but we get an in-between season called sprinter.

I listened to a male cardinal sing his spring song. “What-cheer, cheer, cheer, birdy, birdy, birdy, birdy.” A black-capped chickadee whistled, “Spring’s here,” “Sweet-ie,” “Love you,” or “Fee-bee.” A white-breasted nuthatch celebrated the increasing daylength by giving voice to “Wha-wha-wha.” Blue jays voiced a musical queedle-queedle. Drumming woodpeckers provided a percussive accompaniment.

I heard a house sparrow cheep. I’ve heard them called cheap birds. In India, the Nature Forever Society has tried to rally conservation interest by declaring March 20 World Sparrow Day and naming it the state bird of Delhi. The Society’s president said, “The house sparrow is one bird which is seen by everyone, by kids, by adults, by people from various socioeconomic strata. It is a bird of the common man.” The house sparrow is the default little brown bird we see in parking lots and yards, on street corners and sidewalks, and on farms.

Snow melts first at the foot of the trees because the dark color of trunks absorbs energy from the sun. This heat energy is absorbed by the snow around the base causing it to melt.

Meeting adjourned

“One person can make a difference, and everyone should try.”— John F. Kennedy