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Al Batt: Bananas — The real deal

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I had nothing better to do, so I bought myself a house with six garages for Christmas.

Six garages? What do you collect?

Garages.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me, such as: I visited a few stores. I was Christmas shopping, except for the bananas. I bought six of them. The cashier told me I owed $113, but after some haggling, she lowered the price to $1.13. That made me feel as if I’d gotten a real deal. I rarely have that feeling. I’m an inept shopper but I try to maintain a good attitude as I journey the aisles. That’s why I was bothered by my experience in one store. The checkout lines were busy, so I carefully chose the one I thought would speed the process. The cashier was slow and rude. I figured we all have bad days but it got even worse. As my purchases continued to travel through the checkout process, the cashier became downright nasty. It was my fault. I should never use a self-checkout. I’ll never be the employee-of-the-month.

Christmas shopping

I was shopping locally and needed to pick up a present at a store whose doorstep I seldom darkened. As I paid for my purchase, the cashier asked me if I was interested in becoming a member of the store’s rewards club. I declined and told her it was because I wouldn’t be able to make many of the meetings.

As I moved from here to there in pursuit of the most wanted gifts on my list, I couldn’t help but notice the plethora of dollar stores of various brands. I can’t say anything bad about them. Years ago, during a time when cod liver oil was a doctor in a bottle, there was a sucker born every minute. I was one of those. After I’d married, my mother dug into the junk drawer disguised as a steamer trunk and showed me the bill from Dr. Olds for my entry into the world. It said nothing on the invoice about me being born on third base and thinking I’d hit a triple as some relatives had maintained. I was a real bargain. I couldn’t buy a decent used chainsaw for what my parents had paid the doctor and the hospital. I was a dollar store baby.

I thought about giving everyone fruitcake this year. I like fruitcake, but not all of it. It worsens with age. One year, a relative gave me a fruitcake that had been owned by Abe Lincoln. I thought it had sawdust in it and fed it to the chickens. I sent the giver a thank you note. “Thank you for the fruitcake. Something like that doesn’t last long in our house.”

Comparitech published the results of its study into the most popular Christmas movie by state using data from IMDB and Google Trends. The results are at www.comparitech.com/tv-streaming/christmas-movie-by-state/. “Home Alone” was the most popular overall and despite the debate whether “Die Hard” is a Christmas movie, it was the second most popular nationwide. “Noelle” was the most popular in Minnesota, “Home Alone” in Iowa and “It’s a Wonderful Life” was number one in Wisconsin.

Nature notes

Great horned owls appropriate nests built by hawks, crows, ravens, herons or squirrels. I often see them using red-tailed hawk nests. They will nest in tree cavities, on snags, on cliff ledges and in buildings.

A window is a lens to the outdoors. It’s nature near at hand. Every view is new and different. Each window is unique. John Muir said, “Between every two pines is a doorway to a new world.”

I gloried in the lovely red color of the red-twig dogwood, otherwise known as red-osier dogwood, red willow, red brush or dogberry tree. Charismatic chickadees attacked a feeder’s sunflower seeds. Like any cafe owner, I appreciate the regulars.

Phil Morreim of Albert Lea had 24 squirrels on the deck of his home. He gets so many because he feeds them well so they’ll leave his bird feeders alone. There were four black squirrels, gray squirrels in disguise; a color variation, not a separate species. The color results from a genetic mutation that causes excessive pigmentation. They are melanistic, which refers to melanin, a dark pigment. The black fur offers a thermal advantage, enhancing survival during frigid winters.

Meeting adjourned

“Christmas gift suggestions: to your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service. To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.” — Oren Arnold

  Merry Christmas.