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Out of house social distancing

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

How long is social distancing going to last?

I don’t know. Why?

My husband is pleading to get back into the house.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor, named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me, such as: I read a contract the other day that said this just before the signature line, “the 25th day of March A.D. 2020.” B.C. now stands for Before Covid-19, a time prior to life becoming a scary movie. Near the end of B.C., I led a bus trip in Nebraska. It was a great group. The bus driver was wonderful. Each time I’ve led a bus tour, the bus driver becomes my best friend. That day, I learned I’d lost five jobs due to COVID-19. “Hoover!” I said. It’s the biggest dam I know. I asked what the driver had learned in all his many years of driving a bus. He said, “Never get yourself in a position where you need to back up.” And forward I will go.

I was in Kearney in the middle of March. It snowed. There was sleet to go with it. I scraped my windshield, windows, mirrors and headlights. Then I scraped the roof of my car. Snow was frozen in place. It was a task, but I knocked it off. I saw a big SUV drive by, driven by a lady I knew from the bus. She, being short, had cleaned what snow she could reach from her car, leaving a white stripe of snow down the middle of its roof. You’re familiar with the mohawk hairstyle in which the scalp is shaved except for an upright strip of hair that runs across the crown of the head. Her car had a snowhawk.

I enjoyed a Runza in Grand Island. Runza started in Lincoln in 1949. A Runza is a sandwich featuring bread stuffed with ground beef, onions, a secret blend of spices, and cabbage. Tuesdays in January and February are Temperature Tuesdays. The temperature at 6 a.m. is the price of a Runza sandwich that day.

I drove I-80, where the minimum speed is 80 mph. I-80, at 2,900 miles, is the second longest interstate highway, trailing only I-90, which stretches 3,020 miles from Boston to Seattle. As I drove I-80, which runs from San Francisco to Teaneck, New Jersey, I thought of another trip on that road with a stop at a truck stop in Sioux City to dine with friends on deep-fried gizzards. I didn’t make that health food stop this time.

Instead, my wife and I pulled into Le Mars, Iowa, the home of Blue Bunny ice cream. We stopped at the Visitor Center and Ice Cream Parlor downtown. The Iowa State Legislature declared Le Mars the Ice Cream Capital of the World. More than 80 years ago, a Sioux City man submitted an entry to a “Name that Ice Cream” contest after noticing how much his son enjoyed the blue bunnies in a department store window at Easter time. Blue Bunny was born. Vanilla is the most popular flavor produced, but salted caramel has been number one over the last few years at the Parlor.

I had butter pecan in a waffle cone. I needed something to fill the time before my second butter pecan in a waffle cone. Sadly, I had but one butter pecan in a waffle cone. Why did I eat ice cream on a cold day? What else could I do with it?

Nature notes

Grackles are here. My life has been measured in grackles — when they come and go. Mourning doves do hula-hoop calls. Perched red-winged blackbirds sing, “Look at me.” The first baby birds have arrived — great horned owlets. I saw sandhill cranes, song sparrows and an American woodcock. The cocker spaniel was named for its specialty of flushing woodcock. I saw where rabbits had fed above the snow line. Rabbits don’t dig much.

There were dog statues near a school. They were meant to keep the Canada geese away. I was shown a photo of a statue surrounded by the big birds. Geese are smart.

I’m sure you’ve thought, “I wish I had a cat that could predict the weather.” Folklore says cats are capable of weather prognostication. When a cat sneezes, it’s a sign of rain. Bad weather can be expected when a cat licks its fur against the grain. A snoring cat foretells foul weather. I’ll add a caveat: A dog told me that all cats are liars.

Meeting adjourned

Sting sang, “When the world is running down, you make the best of what’s still around.”