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Al Batt: A parking lot serves body shops

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

Do you ever talk to yourself?

Sometimes.

I wasn’t talking to you.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor, named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me, such as: I sat in my car centered in a large parking lot as my wife did a bit of shopping. I rolled down a window (by pushing a button) and listened to the sound of door dings. A busy parking lot is a body shop’s friend. On the way there, some road-killed animals were noted and they weren’t all opossums (travel-sized carrion). Why did the chicken cross the road? To show the opossum it could be done. There were also raccoons, skunks and fender venison. Venison Eldorado hit by a Cadillac. Venison was a term introduced following the Norman conquest of England and referred to the food from any game animal taken in hunting, including wild boar, hare and rabbit, but now refers primarily to the meat of deer.

Al Routh of Owatonna told me of his friend who’d tangled with a grizzly in Montana. He was batted about but is OK. The closest I’ve come to that is being chased by a large beaver in Montana. The first rule of photographing a peeved beaver is to take one less photo than you think you need. If my canoe had heels, the beaver nipped at them. I think my whimpering and sobbing saved me. Maybe that works on a bear, too?

I’ve learned

Howdy Doody’s father wasn’t named Heavy Doody.

Recent research found that Ben and Aretha Franklin never sang “Respect” together. I was gobsmacked. Wait until you hear this. It turns out that Jerry Lewis and Dick Clark didn’t survey an inch of the lands of the Louisiana Purchase. I’ll bet Thomas Jefferson was steamed.

To always yield to an oncoming hotdish.

If a tornado hits a wind turbine, it’s an example of situational irony.

Bad joke department

“My wife and I ordered takeout at a new restaurant. The food was great. I think you’d enjoy it.”

The friend responded, “I’ll have to try it. What was the name of the place?”

“Let’s see. What was the name? I can’t think of it.

Hmmmm. What’s the name of that red flower with the thorns and long stems that we give our wives?”

“A rose?”

“Yes! That’s it! Hey, Rose, what was the name of that new restaurant we went to the other day?”

Nature notes

The sounds of young raccoons needled into my sleep. The raccoon mating season is February to March, with a 63-day gestation period. Once they are four to six months old, the kits are on their own.

I fed the birds. I have a loyal following of avian gourmands. Birds are cute so they can extort food from me. My feeders are busy. Bird populations can vary greatly with time and place. One yard’s feeders aren’t representative of all feeders. Blue jays, the yard’s security guards, sounded an alarm after discovering the daytime roost of an eastern screech owl.

Moles don’t eat roots. They eat grubs, earthworms and insects, but might chew through roots that get in the way of their tunneling. This could kill the grass.

A woman called to report a colony of bees in the wall of her house. Her home had become a bee & bee. When her doorbell buzzed, so did the wall. Honey bees build nests out of beeswax. Yellowjacket wasps build paper nests and are sometimes found in walls. At this season, the yellowjackets have time to attend picnics and search for sugar. They provide natural biological controls as predators of insects, but develop a sweet tooth now and desire sugary foods like ice cream, soda and fermenting fruit that provide energy and fuel nasty dispositions. A friend tells me they dislike diet soft drinks. Playing in the state softball tournament one year, I was standing on second base when the umpire nearest me called a timeout. The young son of the home plate umpire had been guzzling a Mountain Dew from a can in which a yellowjacket had crawled into. The boy was stung, suffering an allergic reaction. Fortunately, there was an ambulance nearby that hauled the boy to a hospital. He ended up in fine fettle, but about 62 people a year die of wasp or bee stings in this country. August and September produce the most yellowjacket stings.

Meeting adjourned

I look up at the night sky and wish all good things for you. Just think of how many other people are looking at how many stars and wishing the same thing. Be kind.