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Batt: The value of a cigar band

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Zoom Meeting

  I was having a great day until it happened.

  What happened?

  My good luck horseshoe fell and hit me on the head.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor, named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me, such as: My wife gave me some smoked almonds, books and two underarm deodorants for Father’s Day — Old Spice original scent and Dove Clean Comfort. I had eight of those deodorants before the recent gifts, not counting the seven I’d shared with family members. All of the deodorants had been gifts from my bride. I’ve gotten the hint.

Three Aunt Helens 

  I had three Aunt Helens. I loved them all. One day, my mother, sister, girl cousins and one Aunt Helen found a way to be shed of me by raising enough money for me to buy myself an ice cream cone. It wasn’t a far hike to the ice cream place. I walked along, trying not to think of anything and having good luck in that regard, when I happened upon a house with an old guy sitting on a front porch glider while he smoked a cigar and read a newspaper. “Hey, kid!” he yelled at me through a cloud of smoke. “You want a cigar band?”

  I didn’t, but I was taught never to diminish any gift by refusing to accept it. I walked up the few steps to his glider and he handed me a cigar band. I don’t remember the brand. He smiled as if he’d done a great deed and went back to reading his paper. I thanked him politely and left the scene.

  Hoping to cash out quickly, I asked the ice cream shop clerk if the cigar band had any value. It didn’t. At least, not in exchange for ice cream.

Old mattresses and me

  I’m proud to have been on the board of the Salvation Army for many years. At our last Zoom meeting, Major Sandy Hunt said she’d caught my blather on “Farm Connections,” a wonderful TV show on KSMQ. My TV appearance reminded Major Hunt of the appearances of worthless old mattresses people leave on the Salvation Army’s Thrift Store dock in the dark of night. They’re worth less than nothing after a night of being out in the rain. There is a security camera and a sign proclaiming a 24-hour surveillance at the dock. The people dumping the stuff are obviously not readers. Police become involved. 

From one clinic to another

  People wandered by. Fancy footwork was required to keep a social distance from other patients. I was at a big clinic, one of my regular haunts. Someone asked me, “What do you wear to an enema?” No one admitted to having had chicken soup or milk toast. A doctor threatened to give me an apple to keep me away. I was poked and prodded.

  In the oncology department, I saw a guy wearing a “Repaired in Rochester” T-shirt. I have one of those. I met friends there. I’m always happy to see them, but wish it were elsewhere. They were in good spirits, which was uplifting.

  I had a dental visit a few days later. I had to do that in person, too. My dentist doesn’t do Zoom appointments.

The Minnesota goodbye

  An Irish goodbye refers to a person ducking out of a social gathering (Remember social gatherings?) without bidding farewell. A Minnesota goodbye is different. Once I decide to leave, I visit for an hour before walking to the front door, where we talk forever before walking and talking to my car where my hosts talk to me through my car window for another hour. When I do finally drive off, I yell goodbye to my hosts who shout in return, “Come back when you can. Watch for deer.”

Nature notes

  I saw fledged starlings, pale brown to the point of appearing gray. I think starlings are beautiful. An eye can find beauty in most things. I visited with Lyanda Lynn Haupt, author of “Mozart’s Starling.” Her book explores the remarkable bond between bird and human. Lyanda has a pet starling, just as Mozart did. Lyanda’s bird is named Carmen, from the Latin word for song. Starlings are amazing mimics.

  Stable flies attacked my ankles. They look like small house flies and have bayonet-like mouthparts used to pierce skin and suck blood. They’re sometimes called dog flies because of an appetite for canine blood. Their bites (both sexes bite) cause cattle to stamp their feet. Stable flies breed in moist, decaying organic matter.