Al Batt: Life keeps me from going sane

Published 6:30 am Wednesday, August 25, 2021

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Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

I’m glad the world isn’t flat.


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Because if it were, cats would have knocked everything off it by now.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. The humidity was hanging around. It was as humid as a swamp. I was on the wrong road to the right place or the right road to the wrong place. The day had set a Guinness World Record for being the latest date in history.   

This is the time of the year when I think of family reunions. I remember when I had a full roster of aunts. We had a pie table at reunions in those years. Woe be to anyone who brought a store-bought pie. Those good women believed in being fruitful and multi-pied.

No crawfish etouffee

I’d spoken in Lafayette, Louisiana, and was headed to the airport to fly home. I stopped at a Waffle House. I had a Sansa MP3 player (a minuscule device, about the size of a thought) in my pocket and earbuds in my ears, which I’ve found to be the best place for them. I listened to Louis Armstrong’s greatest hits while enjoying a single waffle and a cup of hot tea. It was all good. Each day is made of moments that create the grand symphony that is life.

A coat of wrens

A gentleman from Gaylord told a wonderful story about his grandfather. His grandfather wore a coat much of the year. I understand that. My father-in-law put on an overcoat to eat ice cream in the summer. One spring, the teller of the story and his grandfather were doing hard work as the day warmed. The grandfather hung his coat on a fence post. When the job was finished, the two walked over to pick up the coat. They noticed a wren had placed a pile of sticks in one of the coat’s pockets. That meant the pocket had become a potential nest. The narrator reached to grab the coat for his elder. His grandfather said, “Leave it there. I can always find another coat.”

Life keeps me from going sane

I’m one of the superintendents at a county fair. I floss the teeth of the mounted animal heads in the conservation building. There were no tanks of fish there this year. Not even a Big Mouth Billy Bass, an animatronic singing prop representing a largemouth bass singing, “Take Me to the River.” I suggested visitors make fish faces and other fairgoers could guess what fish they were supposed to be.

One of my sandals broke beyond duct tape repair, so I went in search of a replacement pair at a local shoe store. They had none in a size big enough to fit my trotters. I don’t think my feet are that big. When someone steps on my toes, I feel it within 5 minutes.

I’ve learned

The inventor of the doorbell didn’t own a Chihuahua.

Nowhere can’t be found anywhere.

Being prepared means never having to change a windshield wiper in the rain.

There is no greater promotion than a birthday.

Nature notes

I worked at a county fair and admitted I hadn’t seen a bald eagle until I was 14. A boy was listening and responded, “I’ve seen 14 bald eagles and I’m only 7 years old.”

Rabbits are foraging herbivores. A fibrous, cellulose-rich diet isn’t easy to digest, and once their lunch makes it through their intestines, it still contains nutrients the bunnies need. Rabbits eat their own poop and digest it a second time. Rabbits produce two types of droppings: fecal pellets and cecotropes. The rabbit consumes the cecotropes, which are packed with nutrients. This process is known as coprophagy. Normal cecotropes are dark, greenish-brown and resemble bunched grapes. The fecal pellets are small and brown.

I was bloviating on a tour boat when a passenger asked about the large snails floating in the lake. Chinese mystery snails are small animals with a coiled spiral, olive-colored shell up to three inches tall. The Chinese mystery snail feeds on the lake bottom and is called a mystery snail because females give birth to young, fully developed snails. Their lifespan is about four years and they can die off in large numbers. The species is a native of Asia and is commonly imported and sold by the aquarium trade. It was first recorded in Minnesota in the early 2000s. People spread the snails through the movement of water-related equipment and the illegal release of aquarium pets.

Meeting adjourned

A smile and a kind word can be a life preserver.