Al Batt: Of vaccines and hot dogs

Published 6:30 am Wednesday, March 10, 2021

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Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I’m thinking of a number between 1 and 10.


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It takes my mind off current events.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. A caller told me he wasn’t getting a vaccination. I hadn’t asked. He said it was because he didn’t know what was in it. That didn’t concern me as I’d just eaten a hotdog. Who knows what was in that?

Spring is one of my favorite four seasons. Weather does its own thing. It was a beautiful day. I’d have enjoyed frolicking in the lovely weather but needed to go inside to see some good folks for maintenance so I could continue to take up space. I needed my appointment card, so I put it in my pocket. When asked to present that card, I discovered (not quickly) that it had mysteriously moved to the last pocket I searched. I was glad I wasn’t wearing bib overalls. My father favored the bibs — Key or Oshkosh B’gosh. The newest one was the one he wore to town. Those overalls had a pencil pocket, watch pocket, two side pockets big enough for lunch and a bullhead, a pair of back pockets to hold a wallet and a farmer-sized hankie, a pliers pocket and a hammer loop. If I’d been wearing bib overalls, I’d still be looking for that consarned card.

They were out of hopping jalapeños

I got Mexican Jumping Beans at The Put It Back Store for promising I wouldn’t ask for anything else while my mother shopped. They didn’t jump high, but I needed to find out what made them move. I was Mr. Wizard in training. A shrub native to Mexico blooms and a moth lays her eggs on the flowers. The eggs hatch and the larvae are incorporated into seed pods. The pods fall to the ground and those containing larvae wiggle more than jump. After weeks of wiggling, a larva goes dormant and spins a cocoon. It undergoes metamorphosis and a moth emerges. I carefully cut open a Mexican jumping bean and discovered a larva. It was as astonishing then as it is today.

We could

handle the tooth

Kids are born salespeople. They aren’t very old before they begin selling their teeth to the Tooth Fairy. The Bible says judge not, that ye be not judged. But I can’t imagine the good folks in a dental office can help but do it. “Have you been flossing regularly?” they ask, pretending they don’t know the answer. Flossing is like changing the oil or going to church, you can’t do it too often. I’m never distraught about going to the dentist, but I’m always happy to leave his office. All’s well that ends well. A person forgets how unpleasant something was when everything ended in a good way.

The bad joke department

The man found a magic lamp. A genie popped from it and offered the man three wishes. The man’s first wish was that there would be no lawyers. “That’s it, you’re done,” said the genie. The man protested that he had two wishes coming. The genie replied, “So sue me.”

The laws of do-it-yourself plumbing are: Hot is on the left, cold is on the right, effluent runs downhill and don’t chew your fingernails.

Nature notes

“Do robins mate for life?” Neither Aristotle nor Yogi Berra considered earthworms the intestines of the earth, but robins consider them lunch. Robins don’t mate for life. Pairs generally stay together during a breeding season, which could involve raising two or three broods. The two may return to the same territory and spend another year together. A robin has about a 50 percent chance of living through a year.

“Are horned larks a sign of spring?” Maybe sort of somewhat. Horned larks commonly winter in southern Minnesota, with lower populations found shivering farther north. The ones that migrated south start returning north in early February through late March. They feed along the edges of rural roads and fly at a vehicle’s approach before landing in a field and disappearing into its surroundings. Horned larks have horizontal postures and their song is a high-pitched tinkling.

“How much does a chickadee eat each day?” Smaller birds typically need more food relative to their weight than do larger birds. A black-capped chickadee eats 35 percent of its weight per day, a blue jay about 10 percent and a hummingbird as much as 100 percent of its weight each day.

“Are all spruce trees named Bruce?” Yes.

Meeting adjourned

Gratitude turns what we have into enough.