Al Batt: Days go by too quickly

Published 6:30 am Wednesday, July 22, 2020

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Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I told my wife I wanted to be cremated.

It’s good to talk about those kinds of things.

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No, it’s not. She made me an appointment for Tuesday.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me, such as: The days go by too quickly. I tried to make one day seem as if it’d last forever by walking in the rain. Rain was no strain for Mother Nature as she’d become one of those gardeners whose answer for every problem is, “Just water it more.”

Mosquitoes thought I was a meal they’d ordered from room service. For every drop of rain that fell, a mosquito grew. Mosquitoes can breed in a bottle cap of water. A picnic beetle bit me and I heard myself snarl, “I’ll fix your wagon.” I remember hearing my father say that very same thing as he stalked a fly with a flyswatter.

I fled the Batt Cave for a few hours to go to a farmer’s market. I followed my new mantra, “Wash up, mask up, back up.” We’ve had social distancing all my life. It’s called loaning someone money. I’d feel odd without a flu fence on my public face. It’s a second face. Lou Christie sang, “Two faces have I. One to laugh and one to cry.” In Roman mythology, Janus was the god of gates and doorways. He was depicted as having two faces, one looking back at the past and the other towards the future. My school bus driver never watched the road. He kept his eye on the rearview mirror. It was filled with reflected images of his passengers. He thought the danger was behind him, but it was on the road ahead.

Duck, duck, what?

When I was in grade school, a group of kids sat in a circle, facing inward, while one child who was “it,” walked around them tapping each seated player and calling each a “duck” until declaring one a “gray duck.” The “gray duck” arose and tried to tag the “it,” before the “it” was able to run around the circle and sit where the “gray duck” had been sitting. If “it” succeeded, the “gray duck” became “it” and the process was repeated. If the “gray duck” tagged the “it,” the “it” remained “it.” I’ve heard rumors that Minnesota is the only state that plays “Duck, duck, gray duck.” The other states play “Duck, duck, goose.” The game was brought to this country by the Swedes. There were two versions of the game in Sweden. One translated into “Duck, duck, goose.” The other to “Duck, duck, gray duck.” The hypothesis is that the Swedes playing the second version were the ones who settled in Minnesota. Or maybe it was because no Minnesota child wanted to be labeled a goose. “Duck, duck, gray duck” is the proper and righteous way to play the game and will undoubtedly become an Olympic event.

From the mailbag

Helen Abramson of Meadowlands wrote, “Hi Al, Your purse is actually a ‘Murse.’ Man’s purse!”

Nature notes

Seed mixtures typically contain milo or millet. Milo is a reddish round seed, also called sorghum. It looks like BBs to be fired from an air rifle. It’s less expensive than most other types of birdseed, but it’s less appealing to most bird species. Very few birds eat milo — quail, doves, cowbirds, wild turkeys and pheasants. On the Cornell Lab of Ornithology seed preference tests, western U.S. ground-feeding birds such as Steller’s jays, curve-billed thrashers and Gambel’s quail preferred milo over sunflower. White millet is a favorite with quail, native American sparrows, doves, towhees, juncos cardinals, cowbirds, blackbirds and house sparrows. Red millet is shunned by most birds and becomes waste.

Hemerocallis fulva, orange daylily, tawny daylily, tiger daylily, fulvous daylily, railroad daylily, roadside daylily, outhouse lily, wash-house lily or ditch lily is a species of daylily native to Asia. It’s an orange-red flower that turns to yellow at the throat. It blooms June — August.

White-tailed deer fawns are weaned at 8 to 16 weeks of age.

Bald eagles build their own nests, but do steal fish from other birds. Occasionally, one of a pair will be driven off by another eagle. A great horned owl will swipe an eagle nest.

Meeting adjourned

“Kindness is not without its rocks ahead. People are apt to put it down to an easy temper and seldom recognize it as the secret striving of a generous nature; whilst, on the other hand, the ill-natured get credit for all the evil they refrain from.” —Honore De Balzac.