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Al Batt: Do you hear that … cricket?

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club

I eat an apple every day.

Do you think an apple a day keeps the doctor away?

Only if you have a strong throwing arm.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. We watched softball games. More to the point, we watched granddaughters play softball. The doctor is an 8th grader and the lawyer is in the 7th grade. My wife had a bottle of water she’d purchased at a nearby convenience store. It was a brand she favored. Its website said, “Smartwater has now expanded with an offering of smart hydration options for every occasion, hydration to support everyday replenishment, active performance, healthy living and moments of pause & recharge.” My wife tried the strawberry-blackberry flavored edition. She had swigged only the plain, unflavored variety before. She learned she didn’t care for the strawberry-blackberry product. Smartwater works. She had become smarter.

My mother-in-law died recently. Anyone who has searched a junk drawer knows there is magic in finding things you weren’t looking for. I wasn’t looking for a mother-in-law, but I got one I cherished.

Softball redux

I enjoy watching softball and baseball. I’ve watched one live cricket match and I think I enjoyed it. The sample was too small to be certain and I wasn’t always sure what was going on. Baseball has changed over my life of playing and following it. I’m not a big fan of the designated hitter rule. It skews the records. Both baseball and cricket have endless statistics. Cricket has a bowler on a pitch and wickets that can be wicked. It has a googly. I had to look that up. A googly is a ball bowled as if to break one way that breaks the opposite way. One day, I’ll watch another cricket match. For now, I’ll listen to the crickets singing in my yard and watch softball and baseball.

Customer comments

Rick Draper of Albert Lea said his attorney told him that there is nothing heirs fight about more than who gets the John Deere riding lawn mower.

Mary Steil of Faribault wrote this about her mother, “One of her favorite sayings was ‘If you don’t know what I’m thinking then I’m not going to tell you,’ which was perfectly sensible at the time but now is a ‘huh?’”

A trucker hauling stories

I spoke at things in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. The Lost Colony of Roanoke Island is the name given to the 115 men, women and children lost to history after settling in Dare County in 1587. John White, the leader of that colony, went back to England for more supplies, but the Anglo-Spanish War delayed his return to the colony.

When he returned, he found an abandoned settlement. The only clue to the fate of the colonists was the word “CROATOAN” carved into a fence. I remember learning of this in school. Their disappearance was declared a mystery. In 2020, a pair of discoveries near Roanoke Island gave credence to the theory that the colonists were assimilated with Native Americans. Croatoan was the name of an island south of Roanoke, now called Hatteras Island, which was home to a Native American tribe of the same name.

Bad jokes

Have you read Marx? Yes, I think they’re from the wicker chair.

I dropped my mail on the ground. One package said, “Do not bend.” I can’t figure how to pick it up.

Silence is golden unless you have children. Then silence is suspicious.

Not having to wear a mask all the time will be a good thing, but it will halt my budding career as a ventriloquist.

Nature notes

Kathy and Daryl Paulsen of Geneva found a young owl in their yard at Easter. Great-horned owls are early nesters. It takes a great-horned about a month to incubate its eggs, so if it laid eggs in January, it would be feeding young in February. After the young hatch, the female keeps them warm for the first two weeks. After that the nestlings can usually stay warm on their own as long as we don’t get severe low temperatures. Young owls roam from the nest onto nearby branches at 6-7 weeks but aren’t skilled at flying until 9-10 weeks old. They become branchers. They might fall from or be blown out of a nest. The adults keep track of the grounded youngsters and feed them during this period. Adult owls are well camouflaged and it’s easy to miss seeing one watching. If you find a fluffy, young owlet alone, it’s generally best to leave it be.

Meeting adjourned

“Any idiot can face a crisis—it’s day to day living that wears you out.”—Anton Chekhov