Al Batt: How did I look before the fair

Published 6:30 am Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

Many people at the county fair told me I looked good.

That must have made you feel good.

It did, but it made me wonder how bad I looked before I got to this point.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. Before the dust had settled at the county fair, it rained and settled the dust. I remember driving my old pickup truck to the fair. Pleasant memories. I called the vehicle Bad Check because it bounced down gravel roads.

I was enjoying a single scoop of maple nut ice cream at the fair as I watched a young woman toss the base of a cone into the garbage. She told me she didn’t like ice cream cone butts. I love the ice creams that contain nuts. Maple nut, cherry nut and most of those with pecans. I was enjoying that ice cream cone. On a hot day, ice cream is called cream. I was bolting it down when Tim Kaasa of Glenville told me that only old people eat maple nut ice cream. I gave considerable thought to having a second scoop.

Life’s persistent questions and other things

“A dark night in a city that knows how to keep its secrets, but one man is still trying to find the answers to life’s persistent questions: Guy Noir, Private Eye.” That was the opening to Garrison Keillor’s private eye spoof on ”A Prairie Home Companion.”

I drove down a dark road on a dark night. I met a car that didn’t dim its lights after I had dimmed mine. My wife, who was riding shotgun, grumped, “Why doesn’t he dim his lights?” She’d immediately identified a driver she couldn’t see as a male. It was a shot in the dark.

My mind flashed to another road on another night, a road I traveled with a full bladder. People drive like gas is 20 cents a gallon, but not on that well-lit road. No traffic was moving on I-494 in the Twin Cities. The Book of Revelation — the New Testament’s final book —prophesied sword, famine and plague, but no traffic jams. So it wasn’t a sign of the end times, even if it seemed as if it were. At a county fair this year, I spoke with a fellow wearing a John Prine T-shirt. John Prine is my favorite singer a couple of days each week. I have a revolving cast of favorites. On that day of not moving on I-494, I and my full bladder played a CD by John Prine.

I listened to “That’s the Way that the World Goes Round” with lyrics about a man getting stuck in a frozen bathtub and imagining the worst until the sun thawed him. In the song “Everything is Cool,” this supreme songwriter wrote of the valley of the unconcerned and “And I find it real surprising for myself to hear me say that everything is cool. Everything’s okay.” Everything was cool. Everything was okay. Once I got to an exit and a gas station.

I do my own stunts

I talked to a fellow about his dog. I did that because it was a 200-pound bullmastiff I wasn’t sure I should stop scratching behind the ear. The man has 11 canines of that breed and one of them weighed 210 pounds. He told me he spent $140 a week feeding the big dogs.

Bad joke department

My wife asked me to pick a half-dozen asparagus spears. I picked seven. The extra one was a spare, I guess.

What do you call a wreath made of $100 bills? A wreath of Franklins.

Conspiracy theories are like moon landings. They are all fake.

What kind of tomato smells the best? A Roma.

Nature notes

About five weeks after Canada geese hatch, the adults molt, which renders them flightless until the goslings can fly at 9 to 10 weeks of age, usually during the second half of July.

The red admiral butterfly feeds on tree sap, rotting fruit and bird droppings. Its caterpillar eats nettles. This makes them nearly impossible to cook for. When I was a dear boy, I called the painted lady a “thistle butterfly.” Thistles are host plants for the caterpillars.

In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the cricket chirps tonight. In the jungle, the quiet jungle, the cricket chirps tonight. Go outside at dusk and listen to a chirping cricket. Count the number of chirps it makes in 15 seconds. Adding 40 to that number will give you the approximate temperature in Fahrenheit.