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Al Batt: Growing up the normal man

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I knew one of us would grow up to be an uber-cool and normal man.

You did?

And I knew the other one would grow up to be Al Batt.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me, such as: Weird is normal. The world can be a bully. Disease, accidents and grownups who don’t act like grownups. On December 10 and 11, I did yardwork while wearing a T-shirt and light pants. I could have worn shorts, I was that warm. That task completed, I concentrated on vying to be first in line for the COVID-19 vaccination. I’m sitting at 204,547,935th in line, so it’s promising. I eat lefse to maintain my strength. Some foods are only foodlike. Rice cakes come to mind. I love lefse. It’s bread, dessert and a napkin all in one.

Big-box blues

There was a mindless din found in busy places. We humans are a noisy lot. I was in a large store and greeted Darcy Sime, who works there. Darcy said, “You said you never shop in big-box stores.” Busted! I’ve no doubt I said that. We humans aren’t only a noisy lot, we say a lot. We don’t remember all we say. Darcy, without meaning to, pointed out that I’m an idiot. Most of us are. I realized that without reminding, but a nudge doesn’t hurt. What’s scary is that the higher in the ranks our elected folks become, the bigger idiots they become. I digress. For a long time, I avoided big-box stores as if they were the plague — or a coronavirus. Eventually, a fellow has to go to those stores. I need office products. Besides, what do I know? I wasn’t enthused about getting a computer or a cellphone. I woke one day and didn’t understand what was going on. I got a computer and a cellphone. I appreciate Darcy and others who work in such stores, which become crazed at Christmas. My mother-in-law worked many years for a big-box store. She enjoyed her work and they treated her with respect. I told Darcy that I’d visited the big-box store just to see her. It was a fib, but that’s OK. I’m an idiot.

In the news

Tailor involved in alteration in bar.

Woman’s purse charged with being an accessory to her online scam.

Company offers a TV package with only one channel with nothing on it for people who don’t like watching TV.

I’ve learned

You’re getting older if sparks fly when you clip your toenails and you’d rather wear out your old clothes than buy new ones.

Never make aye contact with a pirate.

Being self-employed means everything you do is on company time.

The mailbag

Roger Batt from Algona wrote this advice about me going AWOL on ringing the bells for the Salvation Army, “Be safe, not sorry. Covid will go away and we want to be here when it does!” Al adds: Steven Wright said, “I intend to live forever. So far, so good.”

Candace Romine Johnson of Monticello wrote this about the recent death due to COVID of our former teacher/coach Jim Clark, “The one thing I remember about him as a teacher was his frequent comments to be consistent in writing assignments. If you spell a word wrong, spell it wrong through the entire assignment.” Al adds: As you probably have surmised, Jim wasn’t our English teacher.

Nature notes

A windy Christmas is a sign of a good year to come.

If Christmas Day be bright and clear, there’ll be two winters in the year.

White Christmas, green Easter. Green Christmas, white Easter.

December changeable and mild, the whole winter will remain a child.

Great horned owl courting pairs hoot duets now before nesting in January or February.

Raccoons aren’t true hibernators and may forage when temperatures hit 20°F or above.

Most white-tailed deer bucks shed antlers in mid-January, but some do so in December when stressed by severe weather.

Geese seldom migrate against a strong wind. They wait for the wind to blow from the right direction and go with it.

Tall structures like communication towers have guy wires that can be treacherous for flying birds. The lights on those towers confuse birds in foggy weather, causing them to fly into the wires.

Meeting adjourned

“The real index of civilization is when people are kinder than they need to be.” — Louis de Bernieres

“Cameras are everywhere. Smile.” — Al Batt

Merry Christmas.