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Al Batt: I’m stuck on the idea of crows and the time it takes for patience

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

When I was a kid, there were always a couple of never-going-to-run-again junker cars in our yard.

Did that bother you?

You bet. Most of the neighbors had twice as many.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor, named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me, such as: When I was a dear boy, parents told their children, “I told you to go before we left home, but go if you can’t wait. But don’t touch anything.” It took strength, courage and a flashlight to use a gas station bathroom in those dark days. They were grotesque things with overflowing toilets, locked doors to keep in the overpowering smell and a key attached to an anvil the size of a Gopher linebacker. It was impossible not to touch something.

My father drove up to visit me when I lived in Minneapolis — once. He was just as proud of how few miles he had on a car as he was of how many one carried. He was more attuned to driving on gravel roads than in the big city. He told me that traffic had been backed up for miles and every car was honking. I learned later that all those vehicles had been behind him. He was a stranger in a strange land.

As I was in Jerusalem. Each morning, I’d jump out of bed and hurry down the street to get a newspaper. My favorite vendor was a fellow who used rocks to hold his papers in place on the ground. He’d greet me each morning by lifting me off my feet and asking how old I thought he was. I answered correctly every day except the first because he’d told me each morning that he was 81.

Thoughts while trying not to touch my face

Why does patience take so long?

“There are a lot of weird people here,” thinks everyone shopping in a store.

A clean desk is a sign of full desk drawers.

Ask Al

“What is a large flock of crows called?” Velcrows. They stick together.

“What do you call someone who has lived in your small hometown for 50 years?” A tourist.

“What bird puts in the longest days?” The cuckoo. It works around the clock.

In local news

The mystery book section disappeared from the library. Police have no leads.

Grilled chicken admits to crime.

The Lazy Man’s Gym specializes in the diddlysquat.

Man surprised to learn that he’s color blind. The diagnosis came like a bolt out of the yellow.

I wonder

Most injuries in the home happen in the bathroom. Would we be safer in an outhouse?

Why are bad commercials the most memorable?

When did we start pulling pork apart?

Nature notes

This is an edited version of what I received from Robert Keiper of Fountain City, WI. “Mr. Batt, I’ve been a reader of the Loafers’ Club minutes for several years and finally I can report something worthy of Nature Notes. On June 25th, members of the Fountain City Boat Club found a roadkill yellow-billed cuckoo. We have never seen this bird in our area here in our town located along the Mississippi River.” The day I received this fine missive from Robert, a yellow-billed cuckoo (rain crow or storm crow) made repeated cooing sounds in my yard and Bobbi Forster of Hollandale sent me a recording of the same thing in her yard. Cuckoos are heard more often than seen and are widespread throughout Minnesota, except in the northeast. Local populations vary depending on food availability. Breeding activity in Wisconsin is concentrated primarily in the southern half of the state. It’s less widespread in Wisconsin than the black-billed cuckoo, which is a resident throughout Minnesota, but the Minnesota Breeding Bird Atlas found the highest densities in northwestern, west-central and scattered areas along the Mississippi River floodplain of southeastern Minnesota.

A deer’s coat provides thermoregulation and camouflage. Summer coats are reddish and thin, allowing deer to cope with heat stress. Hormonal changes turn that coat into a two-layered, faded gray or brown winter coat with hollow and stiff, outer guard hairs. The inner layer is soft and dense, equipping the animal with insulation. Coat color tends to be darker in forested areas and lighter in agricultural lands.

Walter Lantz, Woody the Woodpecker’s creator, said Woody was inspired by an acorn woodpecker, even though Woody looks to be modeled after a pileated woodpecker. Pileated means capped, referring to the crest of the woodpecker.

“If ant hills are high in July, the coming winter will be hard.” – Proverb

Meeting adjourned

If you can count your blessings, you are blessed. Be kind.