Al Batt: It’s a hot and cold world

Published 6:30 am Wednesday, June 23, 2021

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Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

You’re from Minnesota? My cousin lives there. Maybe you know him. His name is Adolph Benson.

That’s incredible. You won’t believe this.

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You know Adolph?

No, I saw a yellow-crowned night-heron in Albert Lea.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. It had been pit-stain hot. The rain had been folded and hung up to dry. I installed new windshield wipers in preparation for an eventual onslaught of precipitation as I remembered fondly a day when I needed to wear a life jacket as I ran serpentine in a downpour. My buddy the weatherman went into the Federal Witness Protection Program for Meteorologists. My neighbor Crandall said the unfair weather lottery had left him in such a state that when it did rain, he wet himself.

I cut myself on a vicious nail protruding from recycled lumber. That vexed me as I couldn’t afford to lose any blood as I’d be shaving later. Once upon a time, I shaved while taking baths. I lived in a shack featuring a sunken bathtub. The floor below it was rotten and the tub became lower by the day. The roof leaked, providing me with a shower. I showered before speaking at a fine event. It was the end of a long day. A man fell asleep while I bloviated. He fell out of his chair. He was unhurt. I was glad I could bring him comfort and calm.

The free food didn’t blow away

There was a meeting that I had to go to because there was free food. It was about wind energy. I was told the area around my home was the windiest part of the county. I was assured that it wasn’t just because of me. The weather is windy, too.

It’s important to have things I can count on

I count things. It’s one way I keep calm and carry on. I think the compulsion started after older members of my extended family told me that Grandma cooked anything and everything. Before I sat down to eat at her house, I counted the cats.

I counted contrails in the sky over my flyover yard. The number of airplanes in the sky has increased. I looked up and the bright sky caused me to sneeze. I remember a day last year when I was masked up (which prevented contagious yawning) in a grocery store and felt the need to sneeze. When I sneeze, I usually sneeze three times. The pandemic had changed the world. I wrestled the sneeze into a stifle, but not before I’d considered running outside to make a sudden violent spasmodic audible expiration of breath, going to the restroom to sneeze, or sneezing into my mask three times. If I’d sneezed in the busy store, I doubt anyone would have said, “God bless you.”

The bad joke department

My wife called me pretentious. It shocked me so, the monocle fell from my eye.

Contrary to popular belief, WD-40 will not deter mice, but it will stop them from squeaking.

COVID caused even more turn signals to malfunction.

When the nurse tells me to get undressed, put on a gown and my doctor would stick his head in later, I know I’m getting a thorough exam.

For Father’s Day, I received a thermos bottle that keeps cold things cold and hot things hot. It’s great. I filled it with cherry nut ice cream and chili with beans.

The mailbag

Rick Mammel of Albert Lea issued this challenge, “Stay cool. I dare ya!”

Nature notes

On a visit to Myre-Big Island State Park, I heard a sora, stretching out a “sorry” call, a skunk bird (bobolink) trying to sing too many songs at once, and saw a prothonotary warbler. In 1948, Alger Hiss, a government official, was accused of being a Soviet spy. The trial hinged on whether Hiss knew Whittaker Chambers, a former member of the U.S. Communist Party. Chambers claimed he’d talked to Hiss about birding and reported Hiss’s excitement after seeing a prothonotary warbler along the Potomac River. That sighting linked the two people and eventually led to Hiss’s conviction.

John James Audubon shot birds and posed them to replicate the behavior he witnessed in the wild before he painted them.

Roadside-nesting cliff swallows have evolved shorter, more maneuverable wings, which may help them evade oncoming vehicles,

“How do I keep raccoons out of my yard?” Secure the trash, bring in pet food, cap the chimney and get an alligator.

Meeting adjourned

Be kind. It’s not always easy, but nothing is.