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Al batt: Now why would they want me in the game?

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

Remember that basketball game when all the fans were chanting, “We want Batt”?

I don’t remember that.

The coach sent me up into the stands to see what they wanted you for.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. I attended the funeral of a beloved cousin, Marilyn Benson. It was the only time she hadn’t made me smile. She loved her family. I loved her and love her family. Marilyn loved cribbage. I’ve played it, but don’t know how. I’m a good loser in cribbage. She loved birds. Me, too. During her funeral, which I attended virtually, I stood in front of a digital screen while holding one of those stress balls meant to reduce tension and nodding in agreement at each nice thing said about Marilyn. I cried as I listened to “I Come to the Garden Alone.” That song tears tears from my eyes. At the song’s end, I spotted a cat hunting the bird feeders just outside my window. It wasn’t my cat as I don’t have an outdoor cat. I opened the window and was about to chuck that brightly colored stress ball at the feline, when a voice at Marilyn’s funeral sang, “There will be peace in the valley for me some day.” That song includes, “Well the bear will be gentle and the wolves will be tame. And the lion shall lay down by the lamb.” I didn’t fling the ball at the feline. I grumbled. The cat waddled off. There was peace in the valley for me, but I’ll miss Marilyn mightily.

I talk to a lot of groups, and do radio shows and TV gigs. I find the easiest thing for me to do is to mispronounce the names of people. First names are slightly easier than last names. I blame my incompetence on a boyhood spent where last names like Benson, Johnson, Hanson, Sorenson, Larson, Carlson, Erickson, Thompson, Anderson, Christianson, Christenson, Peterson, Jenson, Olson and Nelson were prevalent. Not everyone’s last name ended in “son,” some ended in “sen.” We had other easy to say names like Smith and Miller.

I shoveled 6-8 inches of wet snow to make room for new snow. Despite the hurry to show 2020 the door, I find myself writing 2020 on things instead of 2021. My mind’s failure to turn the calendar is an annual occurrence that causes me say “Great Scott!” That may be why on a rare day when I was set free to roam the world to run a couple of errands, I noticed my shirt was a bit askew. Why should it be normal? I had buttoned it wrong. By then, I was out where people could see me on a warm January day. I had dressed in the dark. That’s my lame excuse and I’m sticking with it. I had to decide which was the thing I wanted to do the least — taking the time to rebutton or to look like a dork. I’d look like a dork whether or not my buttons found the proper buttonholes and I needed to impress no one, so I greeted the world with my shirt off-kilter. I’m no worse for the experience.

I’ve learned

It disappoints us when people don’t live up to their abilities because each of us is one of those.

We need pennies. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have any use for those coin wrappers for pennies.

Nature notes

The wind blew hard. I mumbled, “Amain.” Herman Melville in “Moby Dick,” wrote, “The wind now rising amain, he in vain strove.” Emerson wrote, “The soul strives amain to live and work.” Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the word as: With all one’s strength, at full speed or with great haste. With that as inspiration, I recalled another word from the cobwebs of my mind and walked widdershins, meaning in a counterclockwise direction.

In Minnesota and Iowa, courtship and territory formation for great horned owls begin in December and early January with eggs laid at the end of January through February. The owls have thick feathers, even their legs and feet are feathered to handle the cold. The young hatch with fluffy down to keep them warm. The owls can incubate eggs successfully at -27° and eggs have been recorded to withstand a mother’s absence for 20 minutes at -13°. The incubation period is 30-37 days and the nestling period about 42 days. Early nesting gives the young time to learn hunting skills before the next winter.

Meeting adjourned

Random acts of kindness are wonderful. So are premeditated acts of kindness.