Al Batt: Still trying to get back up

Published 6:30 am Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Echoes from the Loafers’ Club Meeting

What time is it?

It’s later than it’s ever been.

Then my watch is wrong.

Driving by Bruce’s drive

I have a wonderful neighbor named Bruce. Whenever I pass his drive, thoughts occur to me. Fall asks, “What did you do all summer?” I spuddled, which means to work

feebly and ineffectively, because my mind is elsewhere. I spoke at a recreational vehicle convention. There was a smart car salesman there. This was shortly before they stopped selling that vehicle in this country. Their cars were the perfect size to pull behind a motorhome. He encouraged me to take one for a spin. The diminutive car looked as if it’d be powered by a fifth-grade science fair project. I questioned its ability to hold a vertically enhanced individual like me, but once inside, it wasn’t bad. The car was about as wide as it was tall. I drove it from here to there and felt as if I were driving a phone booth, but parallel parking had never been easier.

I shared a table with a woman in Mason City who had tripped while moving decorative rock in her yard and broken her nose and wrist. She’d fallen for fall. A girl tipped over in a chair. It was the chair’s fault, not hers. She was uninjured, but likely mortified. I told her she’d fallen elegantly and I was glad it was her and not me. She bounced right up. I’d still be trying to get up.

Those thrilling days of yesteryear

In a checkout line, I noticed Fruit Stripe Gum. I didn’t know it was extant. “Yipes, stripes, Beech Nut’s got ‘em. Yipes, stripes, in Beech Nut gum. Yipes, stripes, five different flavors. Get Beech Nut Fruit Stripe Gum!” That’s the way I remember the jingle, rightly or wrongly. Its flavors in my youth were cherry, lemon, lime, mixed fruit and orange. Kids made gum wrapper chains from this product.

I had Tang, an orange powdered drink with friends recently. It was the drink of the astronauts and Bugs Bunny promoted it. It was refreshing on a warm day. I’d enjoyed Russian tea on boats going into Prince William Sound out of Valdez, Alaska. The drink was made with instant tea, Tang, cinnamon and cloves.

Customer comments

Larry Buhr of Faribault told me of a couple of interesting funeral adventures. At one, the meal was head cheese (meat from a pig’s head). At another, a deceased’s ashes were flushed down a toilet like a pet goldfish. The dead man had loved being on the lake and his family figured that would get him there.

Mary Bailey of Chatfield said when she married Bill, she discovered pocket gopher feet in his freezer. He was storing them until he took them to a township official and collected a bounty. Bill hoped the price would go up and it did, but Mary had encouraged him to sell the feet before that occurred.

Loren Murphy of Faribault told me he’d lost a wrestling match with a stepladder and his tumble to terra firma had injured his heel. His first concern was to get his new boot off so they wouldn’t need to cut it off at the emergency room. I’d have had the same thoughts.

Bad joke department

My mother told me to get her a blueberry muffin and laundry detergent. I was in town before realizing I didn’t have enough money to go around. It was All or muffin.

What do Winnie the Pooh and Attila the Hun have in common? They have the same middle name.

What’s red and smells like blue paint? Red paint.

I thought Canada was real, but it’s just maple leaf.

Why don’t eggs taste like chicken?

What do you call an apology written in dots and dashes? Remorse code.

I wrote, “How much does a rainbow weigh? Not much—it’s pretty light.” Bob Hargis of Riverton, Wyoming, responded, “You ought to be in prism for this.”

Nature notes

Octo means “eight.” October was the eighth month of the old Roman 10-month calendar. Something bit me and there was nothing there. I’d fallen victim to a minute pirate bug often called a no-see-um, a tiny insect with a giant bite. Walnut trees begin losing their leaves earlier than most species. Unrepentant hummingbirds have deserted feeders. A hummingbird’s brain makes up 4.2% of its weight; a human’s brain is 2% of body weight. Blue jays make many  sounds. The late Charles Flugum of Albert Lea, in his wonderful book “Birding from a Tractor Seat,” wrote, “The flagrant rascal evidently enjoys hearing its own voice, putting forth its utmost effort to make the loudest possible noise.”

Meeting adjourned

Larry Buhr of Faribault told me, “You might as well smile. You’ll get paid the same.” Drive friendly.